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Understanding and mitigating the impact of COVID-19 disruption on trainee and early career teachers in secondary schools

COVID-19 has led to huge disruptions to the education system, not just for students and teachers, but for those training to join the profession. Trainees learning to teach in UK secondary schools in both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years experienced very challenging training contexts, and there is a real risk that they will have insufficient expertise and could rapidly leave the profession as a result. 

This policy brief is the result of a project that explores how teacher development has been impacted by COVID-19, and how early career teachers (ECTs) can be best supported in response. It presents the main findings of the study as well as associated recommendations to address teacher quality and enable retention in this challenging context. Some of the questions explored by the project are:

  • How has the COVID-19 pandemic created challenges and opportunities for secondary trainee teachers and ECTs to develop teacher quality?
  • How might the COVID-19 pandemic affect the retention of secondary trainee teachers and ECTs during the period March 2020-2022, especially those teaching subjects which have persistent shortages of teachers?
  • What changes to practice should be highlighted to trainees, teachers, schools and training providers to mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on teacher quality and retention?