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Simon Bell, Director and Founder of Careermap, highlights what resources are available to support distance learning following the recent UK school closures due to coronavirus

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, thousands of schools across the UK have shut their doors. Disruption to pupils learning needs to be avoided at all costs meaning students and teachers will now have to rely heavily on distance learning.

All education will be home-based, except for young people whose parents are key workers at the forefront of tackling the pandemic and vulnerable children who require special needs support. Homework materials have been provided by schools and colleges and the government is working alongside the BBC to develop interactive resources to encourage virtual learning. Many e-learning platforms are offering their resources at zero cost and it’s time to reflect on what school closures mean in regards to the implementation of the Gatsby Benchmarks.

Where can teachers find free e-learning platforms for their pupils?

A number of online platforms are making virtual learning easier for teachers and pupils at these unprecedented times. We’ve compiled a list of the most beneficial, free resources out there:

BBC Teach and BBC Bitesize

BBC Teach and BBC Bitesize are completely free and can be accessed from home. Their website includes educational videos which cover a range of topics, videos and content which meet the curriculum, archives of live lessons are also available.


Edpuzzle is an online platform that enables teachers to track students’ video engagement and analyses the number of times watched. Teachers can add voice recording and questions to video uploads. Free accounts get full access to this useful tool.

Slido for Education

Slido for Education offers paid and free plans. Free plans include a maximum participant attendance of 1000, polls, brainstorming, event analytics, Google Slides and Slack integration. 

Google for Education

Google for Education is a free tool to support remote learning. Teachers and pupils can get free access to Hangouts Meet, a video tool where teachers can run lessons for the pupils to join in with, Google Classroom, enables worksheets and questionnaires to be set for study use. G Suite for Education also contains useful resources such as coding, STEM and family engagement.


Kahoot is offering free access to schools affected by coronavirus. Kahoot supports interactive learning and enables teachers to set pupils ready-to-play games on a diverse range of subjects or to create their own. Teachers are able to analyse student performance and engage with them during this difficult time.


Coding skills are extremely in demand and there has never been a better time than now to start learning how to code. Pupils have the opportunity to learn by doing, they’ll also get the opportunity to apply this to real life projects. Codeacademy is free to learners.


Ted-Ed is a youth and education initiative that allows teachers to create tailored lesson plans for students and gain access to video-oriented lessons related to the subjects taught. This is a free resource which supports learning and development. 

Explain Everything

For schools affected by coronavirus, Explain Everything is offering free access to their Explain Everything Whiteboard. This is an online tool which can be used to produce explanation videos and recordings.

Khan Academy 

Khan Academy is free for learners and teachers across the world. This website has lots of useful subject plans, from algebra to biology and much more. Teachers are able to designate practice exercises, useful videos and articles. They are also able to track student progression.

EL Education

EL Education has plenty of free online resources for teachers. They support teachers and offer a number of projects to encourage homeschooling.

How can schools still meet the Gatsby Benchmarks?

Schools and colleges were recently faced with the challenge of implementing the Gatsby Benchmarks as outlined by the Careers Strategy. The Gatsby Benchmarks are a statutory requirement for secondary schools and colleges. Although school and college has been cut short in the UK, Career Education Information and Guidance is still essential to help students make well informed decisions on their future.

Below is a list of organisations who can provide support during this challenging time:

Careermap produces webinars for teachers, students and career advisers, focusing on the importance of career guidance. Topics include qualification and career routes, mental health, apprenticeships, UCAS process and much more.

National Careers Week works towards empowering young people through education and career guidance. They have lots of useful resources for teachers and career leaders to explore.

The Careers & Enterprise Company inspires and helps young people to gain insights into the world of work.

This is an extremely challenging time and it’s fundamentally changing learning experiences but together we can combat education disruptions through distance learning and career support.


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