Subject associations are experiencing a surge in demand for practical resources to support home learning as schools close to all but the children of key workers and move towards online teaching in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. In response, the UK Council for Subject Associations (CfSA) has created a new online directory of organisations to guide parents and education professionals in need of specialist resources and support across all subjects.
Following calls from teachers, parents, and the UK Government, subject associations have tailored hundreds of pupil resources for use by parents as standalone materials while retaining links to wider learning programmes. Some of these were made available via BBC Bitesize and other BBC channels on April 20. Meanwhile, associations are providing advice and support to thousands of schools and other education institutions around the world.
In recognition of the need for better information about the support and resources available to heads, teachers, Governors, Initial Teacher Training providers, newly qualified teachers, and other educationalists, the CfSA has also created a comprehensive directory of members and other organisations.
The directory brings together details of 25 subject associations as well as other organisations ranging from the National Association of Head Teachers to the National Governance Association. It details how each organisation assists practitioners in every subject taught in the classroom and supports provision in schools and lists the type of help and professional resources available and how to access them.
Chair of the UK Council for Subject Associations, Associate Professor Andy Connell, said: “Subject associations have responded rapidly to write and create resources that can be delivered at home by parents. This enormous surge in demand for specialist educational support and advice reflects the immediate need for content and expertise to provide the best possible education to children and young people at this challenging time.
“Heads, teachers, Governors, parents, and others need access to quality materials and support from a community of specialist experts more than ever. The challenge is finding this information quickly; the CfSA Directory provides instant access and a huge amount of signposting.”
Longer term, the CfSA is working with its members to address the poor retention rate in the teaching profession by providing teachers with access to support via like-minded professionals.
Andy Connell adds: “Around 40,000 teachers – approximately nine per cent of the total workforce – leave the profession every year. We often encounter newly qualified teachers who are unaware that the subject associations exist and that they can provide specialist knowledge resources, support, help, and a listening ear. Their mission is also to keep their finger on the pulse of what is going on in their subject, so they are the best way of staying up to date on the latest knowledge.
“Anecdotally, we hear of teachers who leave the profession because they are the only subject specialist at their school and are struggling with subject knowledge and confidence; they feel isolated and out of their depth and are surprised to learn that expert support was available to them.”
The CfSA directory also acts as a resource for Government officials looking for sources of specialist, expert advice from officially recognised subject organisations.
The new Subject Association Directory is available at: www.subjectassociations.org.uk/the-cfsa-directory
A consolidated guide to home schooling resources is available at: www.subjectassociations.org.uk/cfsa-response-to-covid-19