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Part-time working, meal substitutes and beer in the staffroom...

13 January 2020

1. Supplies in the Classroom

How was your ‘back to school’ week and did you remember to bring in all the things you need? There is a lot to remember given that half of you bring in your own supply of tea or coffee and one-in-five bring spare clothes! Women are more likely to bring in snack bars and painkillers than men are. But the men are almost twice as likely to keep a supply of one of those meal substitute powders.

A teacher asked us whether they were the only one who heard a few colleagues say ‘they’d forgotten how to teach’ in the week after Christmas. It turns out that teachers are saying this little cliched phrase up and down the country. About one-in-five relatively inexperienced teachers SAID it, and a further one-in-five FELT it last week!

2. Why not work part-time?

Last week, we were amazed to see that half of the full-time teachers would rather not work full-time, given the chance. So, why don’t you take the part-time leap? We know from questions asked previously that only a small fraction of you have put in a request for flexible working. We had a hunch that you DO want to work less, but either felt your headteacher would refuse a request OR you felt it would interfere too much with your job.

This week our hunch was confirmed. The majority of you believe that your headteacher would reject a request to work part-time. Plus, 7-in-10 of you feel your current role would be difficult to do on a part-time basis and 7-in-10 feel that working part-time would damage your future career prospects.

There are also some gender differences in these findings, with men being 10 percentage points more likely to believe their career prospects will be affected by working part-time.

3. Drinking in schools

Occasionally teachers agree on something and drinking alcohol in the staffroom is one of those things. Just 3% of you think it would be OK to have a beer in the staffroom at lunchtime. Indeed, more than half of you would be uncomfortable with someone having a non-alcoholic beer!

This is a huge social change. Some of our older (and retired) teachers will remember an era where going to the pub on Friday lunchtime was acceptable. And, as our app-builder Tom Forth reminded us on twitter, French CHILDREN drank wine at school up until the 1980s!

Given the prevalence of drinking-on-the-job (in all lines of work) until the mid-1990s, we thought teachers in their fifties might be more comfortable with it. They were not. This may because many now have positions of responsibility. Heads view the non-alcoholic beer-drinking as far less acceptable than classroom teachers (though you’ll probably get away with drinking it since they are rarely in the staffroom!)

Opinions were strongly divided on social media, with some teachers arguing that it made no sense to dismiss non-alcoholic beer when drinks such as ginger beer or coca-cola are arguably similar. However, several teachers pointed out that the beer could be seen and mistaken for an alcoholic one by children, and that if they smelled beer on a teachers’ breath, it might lead a child or parent to believe alcohol had been consumed.

4. Finally, we know you love the daily tips, so here are all of the ones from last week…