Will online schools be the new normal?

11 April 2022

New research* from specialist education insurer Ecclesiastical has revealed a third of teachers in the UK would contemplate taking on a full-time virtual teaching role in the future.

Virtual learning

Schools had to quickly adapt and revert to virtual teaching during the Covid-19 lockdowns and teachers believe this is a trend that is set to stay. More than a third (38%) believe there will be an increase in parents seeking online schooling as a result of the pandemic and two in five (43%) expect schools will provide a combination of virtual and face to face learning in the next five years.

Many businesses all over the country have had to embrace remote working practices and a third (34%) of teachers have reported seeing an increase in virtual based teaching roles being advertised. The same proportion (34%) of teachers also said they would consider teaching virtually full-time in the future.

The effective delivery of virtual learning is now one of the skills schools look for when recruiting new staff, according to two in five (43%) of the teachers surveyed. And now two in five (43%) are more concerned about falling behind technological changes as a result of the pandemic.

Investing in technology

The majority of schools (91%) have invested in more technology since the start of the pandemic including video conferencing platforms (47%), laptops / tablets for pupils (42%) and teachers (36%), and online learning platforms (39%).

Teachers say a lack of funding (41%) is the main barrier to using Edtech at their school, followed by lack of digital capability and skills amongst teachers (28%).

Faith Kitchen, Customer Segment Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “As one of the leading insurers of schools in the UK, Ecclesiastical is passionate about supporting the education sector. During the pandemic schools have had to adapt to virtual learning and invested in more technology and our research suggests virtual learning and hybrid learning is a trend that is set to continue. It’s important that as schools continue to invest in new technologies they review their online safeguarding procedures to ensure they have the correct cover in place. Schools should also make sure that any new purchases are covered under their insurance policy. We encourage schools to think about the risks they may face and how best to protect their organisations for the future.”

Ecclesiastical Insurance’s Education Risk Barometer 2021 explores the top risks within the education sector and focuses on key areas of concern including pupil and teacher mental health and safeguarding. It is the latest in a series of sector insights from Ecclesiastical Insurance, combining independent research with specialist knowledge from the insurer.

Ecclesiastical Insurance offers a range of risk management support and guidance to help schools manage the risks they face. For more information, visit the Hub for Education.

* The survey was commissioned by Ecclesiastical Insurance and conducted by OnePoll with 500 UK professionals in schools and sixth forms from 1 to 19 October 2021.