The Future of UK Learning

The UK Education Sector has been going through the mill in terms of realisation lately and Debbie Dean, Director of Education Sales at Phoenix, gives her view on where this could take us.

“I am going to be honest and I am torn in how I am feeling. I read about the plight of some of our UK Universities and the financial losses that they are going to incur from the recent pandemic and I think there is a lot to be done to secure our UK treasures.  The other part of me is very excited for the change – one that is sorely needed and these recent months have brought this to a head.  Now, I truly believe we must embrace change, innovate and start something that could be fabulous for today’s enrolling students and the future of our economy.

To be clear, I believe there is no longer a choice and we must pick up the pace and back our Schools, Colleges and Universities to deliver the workforce of the future.

We have seen how, during the pandemic, the country has united and come together and it is the same in the Education sector. Teachers, staff, students and parents,grandparents,siblings and guardians are all trying their best during these difficult times. There has been an amazing uptake of remote learning and there has been a realisation that these circumstances may return again as COVID-19 or in another form in the future, so we must change to be more resilient and adaptable.

I’m not one for change just for the sake of it, but I genuinely believe now is the time, more than ever, to make sure we have a secure economy and that the up and coming skills for our future workforce (some skills or jobs that don’t even exist right now, but let’s think outside of what has been in the past) are catered for and encouraged.

There are so many differences between Schools, Independents, Multi-Academy Trusts, Public and Primary or Secondary, in how they have been able to deal with digital transformation, finances, readiness and the agility to move forwards. However, one thing is clear, they all must move forwards, whether there are budget restraints, staffing redundancies/freezes and numerous horrors left in the wake. We must learn from the pandemic and start to adapt for the future of all students.

We have all read about Universities for years investing heavily in infrastructure of residential incomes, overseas income, on campus privileges and now the question of “Has this been too much?” is been raised. How do we diversify, replace and invest in the future of our institutions?

One thing I know, is that I am extremely proud of the UK’s education and our HE & FE, Schools and Research Institutions. We are respected globally, produce phenomenal results and I know numerous UK organisations have been heavily involved in the fight against COVID-19.

It’s surely about coming together in partnerships – Government, Universities, Colleges and Schools and with the private sector for securing the skills gap and funding opportunities? Ideas to be shared and for Heads and Principals to be open in partnerships. Maybe this is just an ideal for me, but what I do know is that every School, every College and every University is worth saving, and they can be as long as we are willing to change, grow and keep adapting.

Our future economy is reliant on our youth and we owe it to them to move tenfold and secure their places, give them curriculums that are new and exciting, support them in digital and remote learning and be prepared for the unexpected. They will be worried, scared, uncertain about their future employment of which they may have had prior certainties, but now is the time to show them new and engaging learning experiences, which in turn will give better outcomes in less time and the ability for them to make the right career choices.  I am not naive, maybe romantic, but I do believe with confidence that this can be done with true partnerships.”