Commenting on the publication of the OECD’s Programme for International Assessment 2018 (Pisa) analysis, Effective Policies, Successful Schools (Volume 5), Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“This report makes for interesting reading. The impact of the pandemic in schools has thrown into sharp relief some of the issues highlighted in 2018. Then, there were concerns about access to and use of digital technology. Now that this has become a burning issue in 2020, governments in the UK need to think carefully about how they support teachers to integrate the use of technology into their daily teaching, including how to maintain important relationships between pupils and teachers, and between pupils and their classmates.

“It is good that a majority of school leaders feel they have sufficient teachers for their needs. It's important to highlight, however, that this is not the same as saying that teacher numbers have improved. We know for instance that over a quarter (26.8%) leave the profession within three years, a figure that has got worse every year since 2011. This has also led to a worsening of teacher: pupil ratios, something which the pandemic is throwing into sharp relief. With almost one million children in classes of 31+ even before Covid struck, we know that we need smaller classes and more teachers if we are to avoid huge disruption to pupils' learning because of isolation.”


Editor’s note:

NEU on class size, 25 June 2020