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A Test Of Some Hunches: Is this lockdown going the way you think?

9 February 2021

It was the worst of times, it was the worser times. Or is it? Seems so!

Just 2% of you have been thriving over the past month, whereas a whole 29% of you are clinging on by your fingertips and simply surviving. Sadly this isn’t a question we asked in the Before Times (we stole it from Parent Ping) but it’s one we will definitely repeat in the future. Any bets on which part of the year has the highest thriving? [Summer hols, anyone? 😬]

Those in their 50s are more likely to be in one of the extreme groups of either thriving or surviving whereas those in their 20s are most likely to be a little thriving but mostly surviving – perhaps because their lives are often less settled but come with fewer caring responsibilities.

Things you didn’t expect…

A theme on social media is a concern that teachers might flee the profession after the horror of this past year. So far, the data disagrees. Compared to the past two Februaries teachers are ever so slightly more likely to think they will stay in the job until retirement now.

Likewise, many of you felt that teachers were outlaying way more on items related to work than in previous years. After all, second screens and webcams don’t buy themselves! However, the results from last week were the same as when we asked back in 2018. Two possible reasons include that you’ve already spent the cash to get the tech earlier in the lockdowns or that schools have been good about paying for tech as needed.

Note that the ones who shell out most of their own money are the headteachers – with 1 in 5 spending at least £50 in the past month. Heads may be higher paid than other teachers but it looks like some of that cash does flow back into schools.

Things we had a hunch about…

On the other hand, some of last week’s hunches turned out to be true!

Sorry folks: you are getting less healthy in this lockdown.

In the last lockdown, many of you discovered a new passion for exercise and enjoyed eating at home. This time around the joy of endless walks has faded and lunch is now five Dairyleas and a box of Milk Tray left over from Christmas. (Ok, that may just be us…) Either way, 39% of you feel somewhat less healthy and 19% are much less healthy this time, which is almost twice the rate of the last lockdown.

Another hunch was that primary schools were focusing more on core subjects as opposed to the ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum. Again, the hunch appears to be correct.

Back in 2019, 58% of you were recording assessments of subjects beyond those measured by SATs (reading, writing and maths). Now, that’s dropped to just 39%. Ultimately, remote teaching is hard and some thing had to give. This was one of those things.

What drives workload?

Teachers work really long hours during term time. Why is that?

Ultimately, the majority of you think it simply takes that amount of time to get the job done. Planning, marking, delivering, monitoring: it all adds up.

But some other factors are also at play. For classroom teachers, worries about letting students down (41%) and perfectionism (27%) also play a part in long hours. For headteachers, however, the second driving force is that they enjoy the work. Is it that fewer people who feel they are perfectionists become headteachers, or do people learn to let imperfections go as they move through their career? One for us to investigate further!

Assess this!

Finally, how are you feeling about exams this year? SATs won’t be going ahead – but should they continue next year? Primary teachers are mainly against, with 71% of heads saying they wouldn’t run SATs next year if they were in government.

Meanwhile, over on the A-Level/GCSE front, a minority of teachers think things will go more smoothly this year (27%). A more worrying 50% think they will be about the same as last year (remember: it was horrendous) and 13% think it will go even less smoothly. We can’t even bear to imagine what that would be like!

Finally, finally, we know you love the daily reads so here are last week’s!