1st Edition

Bubble Schools and the Long Road from Lockdown The Educational Legacy of COVID-19

By Tony Breslin Copyright 2023
    290 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    290 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This sequel to Breslin’s critically acclaimed Lessons from Lockdown explores how school leaders, teachers, parents and pupils have navigated their way through and from lockdown. This is the story of ‘doing’ schooling against the topsy-turvy backdrop of a pandemic that has caused us all to reflect not just on the purpose and substance of education but also the world that schools might, in the future, need to prepare children and young people for. Drawing on the voices of more than a hundred pupils, parents and professionals, it captures the range of experiences as teachers and students grappled with new ways of working, policy chaos and the complexity of schooling and teaching in such a landscape.

    Bubble Schools is a must-read for all concerned about the shape that our public education systems take as we begin to move forward from a system-shock that has revealed both the strengths and the weaknesses of education policy, system design and long-established classroom practice.

    List of figures



    About the author

    1. The optimism of September
    2. And the subsequently broken promise of normality

    3. After the grading crisis
    4. What the class of 2020 did next, and what this might mean for Higher Education after lockdown

    5. It all ends in tiers
    6. The different experiences of different learners in different settings

    7. Crisis at Christmas
    8. Schools and the second surge

    9. Better connected?
    10. Home-learning second time around

    11. ‘Examining’ the class of 2021
    12. Exploding the myths of ‘teacher bias’ and ‘grade inflation’

    13. Beyond lockdown
    14. Building curricula for catch-up, recovery and much more

    15. Leadership and governance in a hybrid world
    16. The long road to genuinely blended provision

    17. Personalising learning for all
    18. Utilising E-tech and bringing SEND strategies into the mainstream

    19. Autumn’s return

    A testing time (and term) for all 


    Next Steps: Leading schools out of lockdown




    Dr Tony Breslin is an experienced educational leader and a widely published researcher, writer and commentator. A teacher by profession, he is Director at Breslin Public Policy Limited, Chair at Bushey Primary Education Federation and Chair of the Education Committee at Anthem Schools Trust.

    Bubble Schools is a fascinating, thought provoking historical document which should be read by anyone concerned with supporting the "COVID generation" and addressing the inequities in our society - which the pandemic has thrown into sharp relief - in the months and years to come.

    Isobel Bryce, Education Consultant and Former Headteacher, Saltash Community School, UK

    I applaud Tony Breslin’s new work, Bubble Schools and the Long Road from Lockdown, a vivid description of the next stage in the crisis. The book will help educators and beyond to understand the multidimensional repercussions of the pandemic at all levels. 

    Lynda Leavitt, Professor, Educational Leadership, Director, Center for Innovation and Insight, College of Education and Human Services, Lindenwood University, USA

    A compelling narrative and analysis that deserves to be read and actioned. 

    Michael McGarvey, Managing Director, The Key for School Leaders, UK

    Breslin's expertise in the field of education is well established, his research is simultaneously nuanced and insightful, and his writing accomplishes the rare feat of being both accessible and informative.

    J. Michael Ryan, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan

    Tony Breslin is becoming a prolific author and I am sure that his books will be of great benefit to teachers, parents and the wider community.Estelle Morris, Baroness Morris of Yardley, Former Secretary of State for Education, UK

    This is a very important book. Easy to read and more likely to provide catharsis than to re-traumatise those who kept education going almost in spite of the DfE. It is a valiant effort to secure “a positive legacy from an awful episode”. I can’t wait for volume three.

    John Cosgrove, Schools Week