Happy Birthday to us! Happy Birthday to us!

Teacher Tapp was ONE YEAR OLD at the weekend. 

Happy Birthday GIF by Pusheen - Find & Share on GIPHY

As part of the celebration we sent co-founder Laura on a 600-mile round-trip to deliver the 20 Books Every Teacher Should Read to the lucky school from our August prize draw – King Edward VI in Morpeth, Northumberland. 

We will also be sending some birthday cake spot prizes to randomly-selected people who answered questions over the weekend. 

RIGHT, onto results! This week we learned about…

1.The Lessons You Dread

Sunday night dreads are real. Every teacher has them at some point. Maybe your nemesis is Year 3, or 7Q2, or that quiet Year 13 class that sulk sternly every Tuesday morning. 

Merrily, most of you aren’t dreading any lessons in the coming week. Although that’s partly because September isn’t as bad as some later months. 

Those in dread mode have reason for their fears, however. 

We asked if teaching and learning stopped during your last lesson because of poor behaviour. If you said ‘yes it did’ then you were more likely to be dreading lessons this week – with over half of those who said they dreaded six or more lessons last week also having faced poor behaviour on Fridays. 

This really matters. Going to bed on a Sunday night with dread in your belly is not something most people can sustain across a career. But if you want to find the people who are dreading lots of lessons then a simple way to do it is ask how behaviour went at the end of any given day. It may be that it’s a one off, but people who are having a tough time in one lesson could well be having a tough time in many. 

Experience matters too. We find again and again that teachers in their first five years struggle the most with behaviour and, it seems, the weekly dreads. 

Another question you could ask to identify people who may be dreading their job is this one…

Before the school year started we asked people how optimistic they were. A week later, we asked if people were dreading the week. Almost 40% of people who were pessimistic about the school year ahead, were dreading six or more lessons – even after they had been back for a week. 

In sum, finding out people’s level of optimism, level of experience, and how behaviour is going in their classroom, is a way to start to find out who is dreading their job – and perhaps start to give them some support so they don’t feel by Christmas that everything is a total nightmare. 

 

2.What Do Schools Want More Cash For?

School Funding is a top issue for all school leaders right now. But what would schools want to spend the money on? 

From this survey (of around 2,600 techers) you’d think more teachers are the absolute priority for all schools. 

AND YET…

This is another example of primary schools being less well represented in our survey (they make up about 1,000 of the 2,600 teachers). 

Secondary schools want more teachers; primary schools want more teaching assistants.

Note how almost no one wants more middle and senior leaders. 

Wages also came low down in the list. Which shows that teachers asking for more money for school really don’t want it for themselves. They aren’t looking for promotions or more cash-in-hand. It’s about more capacity to do the job at the same standard that it has been done over the past eight years. 

 


3.There Is A Mythical Free Lunch (For Secondary Teachers)

The first INSET day of the year is like teacher Christmas: it comes once a year, everyone wears new clothes, and it takes way more time to organise than anyone ever appreciates. But does it also involve delicious lunch?

We didn’t do a taste test, but we did learn that more than half of teachers get a free lunch on INSET day. 

Except, it appears we have discovered AN INJUSTICE 😱

PRIMARY TEACHERS – YOU ARE GETTING STIFFED! While 72% of secondary teachers are snaffling up the sarnies, just 34% of primary teachers got the same. What’s going on?! 

In more amusing other news, it turns out that our next endeavour should probably be an app that helps with this:

Hope you didn’t cause the technicians too many issues!

 

4. Premium Seats

At the weekend, co-founder Becky gave a new talk at the national ResearchEd Conference about issues with the Pupil Premium policy. A blog outlining some of the issues is here (it’s brill, do read). 

One of the problems is that students on Pupil Premium are not homogeneous and yet schools will often ask teachers to mark those students out, potentially even sitting them in a special place, as part of the drive to ‘monitor’ how the pupil premium is spent. 

Over 50% of teachers have been asked to record the status of pupils receiving the premium onto their seating plans and/or marksheets – and an additional 5% did it by choice.

 

It is much more common in secondary schools (all the yellow & pink boxes from on the left side represent ‘yes’)…

 

And it is more common in schools with lower Ofsted grades than higher ones. 

However, even outstanding schools are asking for these markings around half of the time. 

The intent is no doubt good. The Pupil Premium is worth billions and the government wants to know if it has helped the right pupils. But the tracking is yet another workload and, as Becky’s talk showed, it may not be as worthwhile as we think. 

 

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5. Finally, as ever, we learned that you really love our daily tips, so here are the links for last week:

FFT Education Datalab – key points about the provisional KS2 data 2018
Misinterpreting the marshmallow test
The Problem With Pupil Premium
Education Endowment Foundation guidance on what we know about setting and streaming.
The 10 Rules For Students And Teachers
How to survive your teacher pay review