Pandemic Reflections in Education - “When we know better, we do better.” So, have we?

March 10, 2023

Back in 2020, our Director Lisa Cherry wrote a blog detailing the ways in which she believed people were experiencing challenges and given opportunities by the pandemic asking “What is the Opportunity for Education Post Pandemic?” 

Three years on, we ask her to reflect on these areas and give an insight into the developments of each.

The five areas highlighted were:

  • The strengthening of the empathy muscle
  • The opportunity to ‘do the work’ and create environments that do not add to harm but rather seek to support recovery from it
  • Understanding the absolute basic requirements of working with children
  • The opportunity to show all that needs to be healed, from injustices of racism to environmental harm and political capability
  • The importance of understanding loss

The question was posed as to whether we would relax back into ‘normality’ pedaled very much in the much used statement 'getting back to normal' suggesting that the status quo would somehow be restored. Or would we stand collectively to create dynamic environments for our children to learn each day, become the individuals our communities need and cultivate adversarial growth for all?

Unfortunately, it’s not looking great and this was highlighted in the recent post Children Impacted by Covid 19; Applying a Trauma Informed Approach.  This can be attributed largely to the fact that there is little in the way to grab hold of a coherent narrative about what we’ve been through, we've stopped talking about equity in the mainstream and more and more children and young people are demonstrating through their mental health that all is not ok!

On a positive note, there are many examples of education settings embracing the understanding that the pandemic has deeply affected pupils and that this has been especially challenging to manage because it has affected children differently depending on their ages and access to resources. For example, a year 8 pupil has lived through the ideology of adversity, Brexit, a pandemic, an awakening to the environmental crisis and a cost of living crisis. These children know nothing other than this and because we are a deeply unequal society, this experience will have been experienced differently depending on the particular resources available. A KS1 child may show signs of having experienced a lot less socialisation and 'wired up' within the experience of seeking connection with faces in masks. 

In our work here at TICS, we are in numerous settings and we are seeing an exhausted workforce desperate to want to be the 'always available adult' for those children and young people who rely upon it. We are also seeing the tension between the Govt stance on attendance and the pain of families and their children who simply do not experience school as a safe space

Where we hope to see advancements next in the near future is:

  • A deeper wisdom that understands that the child needs a strong relational web that includes their home and community and the school community as a whole

With that in mind: 

  • Less stigmatising of children and families and a commitment to strengthen relationships between home and school
  • Further understanding and support mechanisms regarding the exhaustion of the workforce and the lived experiences of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis

In 2023 we haven’t yet seen the full extent of the pandemic and it is not behind us by any means. The evolution of the post-covid era will continue for the foreseeable future, trauma will evolve, but so too will trauma-informed settings and support and change will come... hopefully. 

We hope this article has been helpful and if you’re looking for any training or consultancy in your setting on anything mentioned in this article, please do contact Lyndsay, our Working Together Lead, on and she will help to support you on your journey.

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