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Should vaccines be mandatory for pupils? And other findings!

7 September 2021

Term is full go, there’s an Indian summer across the UK and things are a bit more back to normal now. If normal is still a thing when you have to stick swabs up your nose.

Big love to those of you we saw at the ResearchEd conference at the weekend, where we gave out hundreds of badges, torches and clocks! Sadly, all the new numbers did contribute a little to a technical glitch for some of you this week, and we’ve sent an email that explains what to do if things went

Right onto the results…

1. Back to school: the fashion edit…

Welcome back! How’s your work wardrobe adapting to this hot weather? We are at least back to ‘normal times’ in the clothes purchasing department with about a third of you heading out to get some new work clothes to start the term – although the percentage not intending to buy any is higher than ever. Fashion environmentalism kicking in, perhaps?

Unfortunately, not everything is quite back to normal. Your optimism ratings are still at pandemic levels, which is understandable given all the uncertainty about whether schools will manage to stay open. (Who are the crazy 8% who are ‘Very Optimistic’ about this school year?!?)

Teachers are less confident that they understand governance guidelines this September, compared to last September. Just 4-in-10 headteachers have a high level of confidence that they understand the current rules – and these are the people charged with implementing them. Time for another DfE batch of emails sent on a Friday night to clarify arrangements?

Whilst coronavirus is still very much amongst us, government restrictions have lessened so we have more choices to make about how to protect ourselves. Almost HALF (48%) of teachers do not plan to wear a mask or visor at any time around the school, with the majority (88%) not wearing one in the classroom.

Sensibly, secondary teachers are much more likely to say they will be wearing a mask or visor around the school, with those teachers in their 50s most likely to say they will. We will be asking about your mask choices later this term to see whether you change your mind if schools experience outbreaks.

2. Should vaccines be mandatory?

Ahead of the new school year, 99% of teachers had received at least one coronavirus vaccination. This is an amazingly high number, putting teachers amongst the most vaccination compliant profession! (When we last asked this, teachers in their 20s were playing catch up having been offered the vaccine later than others.)

90% of you want secondary and sixth form students to be offered the vaccine. In fact, 60% of you wanted to go further and offer the vaccine to all pupils!

Parents were more likely to be conservative about who should be offered the vaccine. While 65% of non-teacher parents would offer the vaccine to all pupils, only 50% of teacher-parents would do the same. Teacher-parents were more likely to want the vaccine offered to secondary and sixth form students.

With ultimate power in your hands, 35% of you would mandate vaccines for all pupils. And a further 35% would mandate vaccination for secondary and sixth form pupils only.

There was a polarised response amongst younger teachers. 1-in-5 teachers in their 20s wouldn’t mandate a vaccine to anyone, but 2-in-5 wanted to mandate it for all pupils. Teachers aged 40+ were most in favour of requiring vaccinations for secondary and sixth form students only.

3. Education: Better than ever?

It turns out teachers are a pretty optimistic bunch about the state of education. 88% feel that education today is better than it was in their generation. Even those who went through the education system VERY recently (those in their 20s) feel the quality is better today. This is something of a surprise given that funding hasn’t risen since they left school. Perhaps as a teacher you see a very different face of the education system to pupils? Or maybe, as pop band D:Ream once said, things can only get better!

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

The most read tip this week was: Making scheduled staff meetings a thing of the past 😱

And here are the rest for your reference: