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Reports Part of series: Education & Covid-19: BERA Small Grants Fund research reports

Towards developing an education continuity plan: Supporting schools in times of crisis

This report considers how educational continuity plans (ECPs) can better support schools in times of crisis, specifically from the perspective of headteachers, whose experiences, challenges and successes between March 2020 (when the first UK-wide lockdown began) and September 2020 (when restrictions began to be incrementally reimposed) it explores.

It finds that the critical components of an ECP framework, from headteachers’ perspectives, are clear multidirectional communication channels and resource provision. The authors propose, and identify some of the necessary elements of, a national ECP that will enable schools to continue to provide education and support their communities during closures in times of national crisis, and will establish a collective agreement on a consistent minimum equitable.

Report summary

This report presents the results of a small-scale, BERA funded research project undertaken between August 2020 and March 2021 that aimed to explore the development of an educational continuity plan (ECP) to support schools in times of crisis from a headteacher’s perspective. Data was collected via an online survey with a range of qualitative and quantitative questions, which allowed headteachers, as stakeholders in an ECP, to share their experiences, challenges and successes during the period March–September 2020 – that is, between the start of the first UK-wide lockdown and the incremental reimposition of restrictions that began in the early autumn. The data were analysed thematically.

The authors argue that an ECP needs to include all stakeholders with an effective flow of communication between them to allow equitable distribution of resources and educational provision. The themes that emerged from the data analysis – communication and information technology – are considered key elements in developing an ECP. The study presents two components, communication and resources, as crucial in achieving consistent and equitable provision during school closures in crisis periods.


Profile picture of Fadoua Govaerts
Fadoua Govaerts, Dr

Researcher at University of Bath

Fadoua Govaerts is a PhD researcher at the University of Bath, in the Department of Education. Her doctoral research project explores the experience of home-educated adolescents, with a special focus on their educational outcomes and social...

Profile picture of Vicki Cann
Vicki Cann, Mrs

PhD Researcher at University of Bath

Vicki Cann is a PhD researcher at the University of Bath. Her doctoral research is focused on school leadership and analyses how the role of the primary school headteacher changes once the school joins a multi-academy trust. Before starting...

Profile picture of Joy Cranham
Joy Cranham, Mrs

Doctoral Candidate at University of Bath

Joy Cranham is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Education at the University of Bath. Her research interest lies in identifying effective approaches to educate families and children about healthy relationships. Her work focuses on...

Profile picture of Gihan Ismail
Gihan Ismail, Mrs

PhD researcher at University of Bath

Gihan Ismail is a doctoral researcher at the department of education, University of Bath, and her research explores the interplay of knowledge, power and ethics in doctoral education with a focus on the sociology of difference, culture and...