Okay, this week we’ve looked at a few things you asked for: report writing, trip-taking and what you do with pupils outside of school (literally, just outside the front door)…
Before we head into those don’t forget the next Golden Ticket draw is only a few days aways. Throughout May, June and July, every 100 questions you answer equals a ‘golden ticket’ which you can find in your app and which we email to you. Each ticket has a code and once a month we draw a winning code for a big cash prize (next is £1,500, then it’s £3,000). If the code matches – you win!
Tickets roll over each month so if you don’t win, don’t worry, maybe next time!
1. Lining-Up & Home Visits
A tapper recently wrote and asked if students are more commonly lining up outside before they come into school in the morning. Sadly, we can’t say for certain, because we never asked before! But if the best time to ask a question was five years ago, the next best time is now – so this week, we dove in…
Turns out: 16% of primary schools and 20% of secondary schools line pupils up outside before they come into school.
And, more notably, it’s secondary schools in deprived areas that are most likely to do morning line-ups (28%).
(As someone who has only ever seen this happening in primary schools, it blew my mind that this was the case – another example of Teacher Tapp exploding our reality tunnels!)
Why does it happen more in poorer areas? A few hypotheses include more need for opportunities to manage behaviour/uniform before entering the building and that schools in deprived areas may have more limited space, inside or out.
What it mainly shows is that working in more deprived contexts often comes with expectations about what happens outside of the classroom.
For example, this week we learned that 88% of secondary schools do home visits when a student is persistently absent from school, compared to just 58% of those in affluent areas.
Among primary schools, only 13% of teachers in deprived areas said their school didn’t do home visits, compared to 33% (one-third) in the most affluent areas.
Schools in poorer areas tend to have more pupils on free meals, which means there’s top-up funding for the pupil, which can make these activities more affordable – for example, having additional pastoral staff who can do the visits. But it increases the complexity of the leadership job in these schools and with squeezed budgets this is the sort of activity that may be pushed more to teachers or leaders, especially as absence is increasing.
We will keep an eye on going forward to see if it changes.
2. The Hand-Aching Labour of School Reports
It’s school report time again! Many of you wrote to us at half-term, angry that we didn’t include “report writing” in the activities you’d done over the holiday. (Forgive us: the same question is used every half-term, that’s why it wasn’t in there!)
Not everyone is writing reports though….
At primary the most common length is two pages (45%), whereas at secondary schools it is just one page (32%)
Who writes school reports?
Almost every primary school has the class teacher write at least one bespoken sentence about the students (94%) and 44% have a comment from a senior leader or the head.
Secondary schools don’t include as many bespoke sentences. 40% of secondary schools send reports without any bespoke sentences – instead, pupils receive words from a comment bank or numbered grades only.
This hasn’t changed since the last time we asked in 2019.
What has changed is that slightly more primary schools are using specialist software and slightly fewer secondary schools are doing so.
In primary schools the most common software choice is Google Docs or Word (81%). Secondary schools are more likely to use specialist software (41%) but about a third of people who do say it’s glitchy.
The tech revolution not going too well so far for reports! Maybe the AI revolution will get here by next year?
3. School Trip Inflation 🚐💰
After a few years of cancelled school trips, things are looking normal. 🥳
In 2019, 79% of teachers went on a trip.
In 2020, we didn’t ask, given the circumstances.
In 2021, only 23% went out during the whole year.
Now, in 2023, 77% of teachers have been on a trip this year. Normality achieved!
BUT as the cost of living bites, are school trips becoming more expensive?
At secondary schools things seem remarkably little different to 2019. Costs look the same.
But in primary school, for the last school trip, just 47% said the expected parent contribution was £10 or less, that compares to 58% in 2019. 😬
The proportion of teachers saying the last school trip was £100+ has also gone from 8% in 2019 to 12% this year.
Booklets cause furores. Some people love them, some people think they are a scourge on the teaching of Real Books. But maybe your phase or subject has a lot to do with this…
When it comes to booklets: Maths teachers say no (58%), English and Arts teachers say yes most often (24%) – and English teachers are the least likely to say never (28%)
Why? A previous Teacher Tapp finding is that many fewer English teachers have access to textbooks. They have access to ‘sets’ of reading books, but few books that provide pupils with activities from which to work. Maths teachers, on the other hand, are most likely to have textbooks.
So maybe it’s simply a case of working with what you have?!
Ups and Downs
On the rise
📈 21% of primary teachers say that a common excuse for a student arriving late is needing to visit the medical room, up from 16% compared to last year
📈 35% of secondary teachers would describe their school corridors as “rowdy”, up from 29% in July last year
📉 35% of secondary teachers are using GCSE grades (either current or predicted) to measure attainment at KS3, down from 61% in 2019
📉 21% of teachers say they have been supported to improve the assessment part of their teaching practice, down from 27% in April last year
The most read tip this week was: 6 ways ChatGPT can save you time
And here are the rest for your reference: