Written evidence submitted by Swansea University, School of Education

UK Parliament Education Committee inquiry response:

The impact of COVID-19 on education and children’s services




Following the rapid closure of education institutions in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our online anonymous survey investigating the impact of “emergency remote teaching on education practitioners was distributed internationally via a range of professional networks.


The survey received 2,745 responses after four weeks, consisting of a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data on perceptions of online learning, teaching and assessment.


2,064 responses were gathered from the education sector in the UK (1,397 from England; 488 from Wales; 141 from Scotland; 38 from Northern Ireland); the evidence presented here will primarily be from the English data, but we will make some high-level comparisons to the other UK nations..


Of the respondents based in England, 907 were from higher education (HE), 159 from further education (FE) and 264 from schools; the remainder were from across the wider education profession, including adult education.


The following summary presents the key significant results from our survey for these three sectors in England.


Higher Education


62% said that have an appropriate home working environment to support learning, teaching and assessment online.





Further Education



Comparisons with other UK nations


As the data was collected via opportunity sampling, it is difficult to draw conclusive country comparisons. However, the graphs below demonstrate that on a number of measures respondents from Wales were significantly more positive about the move to online learning, teaching and assessment than respondents in England. It is not explicitly clear from the survey data why this should be the case, but there were a number of responses that mentioned the proposed major national curriculum and qualifications reforms to take place in Wales from September 2022 onwards, with significant investment in professional learning, and the system as a whole. (The low level of responses from Northern Ireland meant that they were excluded from country comparison analysis).








The overall picture could be viewed as more negative in England than in other parts of the UK. Practitioners across both the compulsory and post-compulsory sectors have raised a number of significant issues – both in the short term and in the longer-term -- arising from the pandemic:



Being mindful of the rapid response for this inquiry, as well as the immediate needs of the Education Committee, we have only presented a high-level summary of some of the key quantitative results from the survey, which are still being analysed and disseminated; related publications and outputs are presented below. We would be happy to further support the work of the Committee going forward, as we continue to analyse and disseminate outcomes from our international survey.


Related reading


Watermeyer, R., Crick, T., Knight, C., and Goodall, J. (2020) COVID-19 and digital disruption in UK universities: afflictions and affordances of emergency online migration. Higher Education.


Watermeyer, R., Crick, T., Knight, C., and Goodall, J. (2020) Academic lives are in transition. Wonkhe (4 May).


Watermeyer, R., Crick, T., Knight, C., and Goodall, J. (2020) Forced shift to online teaching in coronavirus pandemic unleashes educators’ deepest job fears. Nature Index (9 April).

June 2020