A reflection of 2020

2020 has not been without its challenges, but for many businesses, it has also been a catalyst for change.

Here, we catch up with our Managing Director, Michael Walker, to look back on the year and to see what 2021 has in store.

What challenges has 2020 brought for Reading Solutions UK?

Like every business, the greatest challenge we have faced this year has been uncertainty. Not knowing what we were dealing with and how potentially devasting the virus could be, meaning all our plans went out of the window.

Overnight, schools closed, sales stopped, and we were not allowed to have staff in the office (and there wasn’t any work for them). Plus we had no income. 75% of our staff were furloughed for five months, leaving five of us doing the job of 20!

How have you adapted?

To secure the immediate future of the business, we quickly had to review our objectives and then make some drastic changes in-line with our company values. Following a company audit, we refocused our business model going back to basics – one product, great support, making an impact on children’s lives.

Our offer previously relied heavily on working with teachers and children in school, but the acceptance of Zoom and Teams has allowed us to deliver the same service online without compromising quality. Feedback from teachers helped us quickly develop new resources aimed specifically at parents and children for home usage, easing teachers’ workload.

I feel that the changes we implemented have strengthened our core offer, increased our agility, and allowed for more creative thinking.

Have any opportunities presented themselves?

I think that the recognition of how new technology can provide part of the solution has been a game-changer.

The senior leaders that we are working with ‘get’ the importance of having high-quality educational programmes like Reading Plus that are ‘plug and play’ and deliver something that traditional teaching practices simply cannot. The value of this is immense, especially whilst teachers are still coming to grips with the massive challenges that look to be fundamentally changing accepted educational practices.

It feels like we have been moved forward.

What are your predictions for next year?

I truly believe that education will come out of this stronger. Hopefully, Government policy will drive catch-up, and schools will be able to provide all children with new opportunities for innovative learning.

Reading Solutions UK will be starting 2021 with our ‘Great North Online Reading Conference’ in March to disseminate best practices and to lead the way forward. There will still be a lot of challenges to work through but there are also opportunities to make real change for the better.

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