Learning Renewed: ten lessons from the pandemic

Tony McAleavy
Anna Riggall
Astrid Korin
Ruth Naylor
with Susy Ndaruhutse and Ruth Naylor.

The Covid-19 crisis has tested education systems in unprecedented ways. In this report, we summarise ten key lessons from the pandemic, which should be used to inform planning for the long-term reconstruction and recovery of education systems. These lessons are drawn from a thorough global review of evidence and policy throughout school closures and plans for reopening around the world, with a particular emphasis on examples of good practice.

Following a year of upheaval for education systems globally, there are lessons to be drawn from the varied experiences of countries around the world: lessons which we must apply to ensure that ‘building back better’ is an effective, evidence-informed undertaking. To meet the urgent need for evidence on the emerging challenges and solutions in this crisis, Education Development Trust is conducting regular rapid reviews of the latest published research findings, guidance documents, policy documents, and interviews with senior leaders to produce accurate analyses and draw evidence-based conclusions.

This report is the second of these reviews, and focuses on ensuring continuity of learning, a safe and successful return to school, closing equity gaps, and harnessing resources to support quality teaching and learning for the long-term. In it, we identify ten lessons to inform planning for education recovery in the long term:

  1. The crisis has reinforced the need for adaptive, agile policymaking.
  2. Meeting the equity challenge depends on data, detail and deliberate action.
  3. The best external support for teachers comes from other teachers.
  4. School leadership matters.
  5. Without effective assessment for learning, it is impossible to meet the needs of individual students.
  6. Great teaching and learning are not enough: schools need to address the wellbeing of students and teachers.
  7. Access to technology is necessary but not sufficient: many teachers urgently need training in digital pedagogy.
  8. Technology solutions must be accessible – and include a no-tech safety net.
  9. Parental and community resources must be harnessed to support learning.
  10. Effective support for girls must be prioritised in plans for reopening and learning recovery.

Each of these lessons is explored in more depth in the report, along with examples of promising practice from around the world.


Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Education Development Trust has sought to be highly responsive to the changing needs of educators, system leaders and our partners around the world. In doing so, we have developed an evidence base from which we have developed new thinking, which we call ‘Learning Renewed’, which reimagines what more effective, equitable and resilient education systems might look like, and how they might better withstand future shocks.