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Is it the end of the 'snow day' as we know it?

22 February 2022

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1. The end of the snow day?

Back in the day when the weather stopped you from getting to school, students often had the day off! Thanks to the pandemic, remote learning has become mainstream. Has this signalled the end of the ‘snow day’? Storm Eunice gave us the perfect opportunity to check.

First note: half of schools were on half-term. Don’t worry! We didn’t ask teachers in those schools about the storms. We asked them something else instead that day.

Onto those of you who were open last week…

In the South, the majority of schools closed. 90% of schools in the South West and South East closed (London remained largely unaffected as most schools in the capital were on half-term, hence only 95 responses).

On the other hand, most schools in the North remained open.

Of all the schools that did close, around 1-in-3 gave their students the full day off, with the remainder (2-in-3) offering remote learning to their students.

So, while we need more data to determine whether ‘snow days’ are gone forever – it certainly seems that remote learning is likely to be the most popular option when schools do have to close!

Those of you who were on half-term last week and didn’t have to deal with the stress that comes with closing a school had some other issues. Thankfully, for most of you, the storm didn’t have an impact – but for a third of you, it stopped a day trip. 😞

2. The best laid plans…

Government ministers sometimes say that workload can be solved if all lesson plans were centrally provided – but you don’t quite agree. Over 80% of teachers say that lesson plans and resources require adaptation to fit the needs of their class.

This is particularly true for more experienced teachers.

Even the best-laid plans aren’t to be followed solidly though, and deviations from lesson plans occur regularly. 20% of teachers say they need to deviate from their lesson plans most lessons and over 50% of teachers are regularly doing this.

One teacher wondered whether this was more common among more experienced teachers? The answer is, in part, yes – but not by much! Even among teachers with less than 5 years experience, 18% are deviating most lessons and a further 37% not quite as regularly.

Ultimately, large groups of children are unpredictable and one never knows when a bee, a storm, or a sudden source of inspiration might hit the classroom and rupture your well-laid plans!

3. Making planning even better!

So, what would make for even better lesson planning? More time, it turns out.

A problem for most teachers is that the current amount of time allocated for planning within directed time is very low, which can mean teachers spend lots of their evenings and weekends rummaging through resources and trying to plan in their spare time. So much so that two-thirds of teachers asked for more time for individual planning!

Less experienced teachers also wanted more feedback! 14% of teachers with less than 5 years experience wanted feedback on their plans, a view shared by just 5% of the most experienced teachers.

And departments/colleagues take note – a third of the least experienced teachers want better access to their colleagues’ plans and resources. Share, please!

Are all of these individuals the same – are the Venn diagrams of who answered overlapping? Not quite – it turns out! Of the two-thirds of teachers who wanted more individual planning time, just over half of them also wanted more collaborative planning time. In fact, the number of teachers calling for just collaborative planning time alone is small compared to the other numbers!

Only one-in-four of you say you have time allocated to plan collaboratively with their colleagues, but if you do have that time, then you’re singing the praises of collaboration! A huge 97% of you who have time allocated to plan collaboratively find it useful.

Furthermore, if you already plan collaboratively it’s likely you want even more time to do it. Clearly, you feel the benefits and want to make the best use of the time! If you’re not doing it in your school, is there a way to make it happen?

Teacher Tapp mentions in the wild 📣

A critical aspect of you answering questions on Teacher Tapp is that it unlocks research that gets shared with you on the app, but also goes out into the wild and knocks ministers, policymakers and other decision people upside the head with your views!

Here are a few mentions we had in the press over the past week:

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: Who should read aloud in class?

And here are the rest for your reference: