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Classroom displays, the bigger picture of football in schools and education policy...

9 August 2022

Phew, it’s hot! Are you surviving? Plus, you’ve had a complicated few weeks of blog on pay and other dismal stuff, so this week things are a little lighter but still just as fascinating 🤓

What’s the purpose of classroom displays?

Classroom displays, love them or hate them (we wrote about that here), they’re part and parcel of being a teacher. But what’s the purpose of them and has your opinion changed since 2019? 

First, fewer of you think displays should provide ‘support and prompts’ for students. Back in 2019, 77% of you agreed. Now it’s just 73%. 

So what changed it? We don’t know as yet but our working theory is that it might relate to ‘working walls’. Working walls are a public display of a learning process. You can read more about them here

On the other hand – a big change coming – colourful, elaborate displays have come way LESS popular. In 2019, 19% of you were up for whizzy designs on your walls. That’s now dropped to 12%, a substantial fall. Research into cognitive load has shown that distractions in the classroom can negatively impact learning. The fall suggests teachers are becoming more aware of these findings. 

To further support this notion, more teachers now prefer to teach in a classroom with very minimal displays on the wall (28%) up from 21% in 2019.

Do you favour more elaborate and colourful or more minimal displays on the walls? 2019 vs 2022.

Away from walls and onto seating! 🪑

During the pandemic, seating arrangements were often dictated by social distancing restrictions and pupils more often had to sit facing the front. Did this change your seating preferences? 

Nope! Comparing the results on seating preferences between 2019 and this year things look the same as they ever did. Secondary teachers favour facing the front (76%) while only 47% of primary counterparts agree. 

Do girls really play football less than boys?

The women’s England football team recently wrote an open letter to the government expressing their desire for all girls’ to be allowed to play football at school. 

As revealed last week, 74% of primary teachers see girls playing football at least sometimes during break and lunchtimes. At secondary school, just 35% of teachers said the same.

Somehow, between primary and secondary, it seems many girls stop playing football at secondary school.

Rightly, however, several people questioned if this also happens with boys? You told us: no. The vast majority of primary and secondary teachers see boys playing football at least sometimes. (Seriously, look at that graph below: the differences are stark)

What happens between secondary and primary school to change girls’ appetite to play football? 

Do you see girls/boys playing football at break or lunchtimes? Split by phase and gender.

One reason might be that girls aren’t able to play on football teams at secondary school, so they give up playing recreationally. The stats, however, don’t seem to back that up.

7 in 10 secondary schools have a girls’ football team, which is higher than the frequency of primary girls’ teams (only 5 in 10 schools).

Does your school have a girls/boys' football team? Primary vs Secondary split by gender of team

One thing that did come out, however, is that football at breaktimes is often limited or banned in schools. Limits included only having certain year groups to play at a particular time or temporary bans. Reasons mentioned on Twitter included arguments, fights, balls going over into neighbours’ gardens, the close proximity of school windows, and injuries! 

Bans or limitations were much more likely in primary schools (61% reported) compared to secondary (just 11%).  

Could the restrictions at primary school actually be part of the reason why girls play more often there? For example, do girls prefer it when there are sanctions for fights or reductions on the number of people who can play, to ensure that everyone gets a go? It’s worth pondering and perhaps even testing in your school.

To quote the Lionesses’ “[girls] deserve to play football at lunchtimes, they deserve to play football in PE lessons and they deserve to believe they can one day play for England”.

You’re the Edu Secretary: What do you do?!

Imagine! You’re in a parallel universe and find yourself appointed as education secretary. What do you do first?

The only policy that over half of you would implement is abolishing SATs and statutory primary testing (58%), a slight increase from 54% in 2019.

Second to that, 46% of teachers would now remove the charitable status of all fee-paying private schools, up from 33% in 2019. Not only that, 17% of teachers would now choose to nationalise all private schools, up from 9% in 2019. All teachers, regardless of seniority, feel the same way. It’s likely that these findings are a reflection of the economy. At a time when funding is needed in state-funded schools, the use of public money to fund tax breaks for private schools is possibly causing a greater backlash (sorry, that’s the only reference to budgets this week 😳).

Last but not least, more teachers are in favour of reforming GCSEs (42%), a 16 percentage point increase from 2019. The TAG drama from the past couple of years has led some teachers to question the worth of GCSEs and with high-profile campaigns like The Forgotten Third and Rethink Assessment gaining momentum, what does the future hold for GCSEs?

In a parallel universe, you find you have been appointed as Secretary of State for Education. Which of these policies will you try to implement? 2019 vs 2022

Finally… we know you love the daily read, so here are the ones from last week

The most read tip from the past week was: Evidence-based practice in schools: What’s really going on?

Here are the universal reads for your reference:


Here are the primary-only reads for your reference:


Here are the secondary-only reads for your reference:

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