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Pay freezes, promotion and do you have your Christmas tree up yet?

1 December 2020

Hello! Brrr… it’s cold! And that’s all day for some of you. We only asked yesterday about temperature in classrooms but we saw a picture of at least one classroom thermometer that showed 10 degrees – eek.

Grab yourself some thermals and let’s get into this week’s results…

That Pay Freeze…

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. The Chancellor has announced there will be a public sector pay freeze for the next three years and you are pretty unhappy about it. Just 5% agree that there should be a pay freeze for teachers, with 84% disagreeing. Even more of you, 87% disagree, about the wider public sector pay freeze.

And more bad news on the inequalities front. Those of you working in higher free school meals schools are struggling most with your planning as a result of lost learning.

That said, it looks like we’ve reached a steady (though bad) state. The proportion of students who are missing due to COVID doesn’t seem to be getting worse anymore, and is getting quite bit better in some areas.

Negativity in the corridors?

At this time of the year we always ask whether you heard a colleague complain about senior leadership that day. This year, ‘only’ 53% of you did, compared to 66% in 2017. At first we thought this showed a higher positive regard for SLT who are trying to keep schools open. But then we remembered that social distancing means you are far less likely to hear your colleagues say anything at the moment!

Do people still want to get promoted?

The good news is that over a third of heads say they’d like to still be doing the job in ten years from now, despite how tough things are! The bad-looking news is that only a third of the current Deputy and Assistant heads would like to be in headship in ten years’ time. However, when we last asked this question in 2018, we also got similar results – suggesting that even though things are tough for heads right now, it isn’t putting assistant and deputy heads off at high levels.

Are you feeling Christmassy yet?

As it’s a rather strange year, several teachers said they were putting their decorations up early and wanted to know if this was a thing this year. How could we say no to finding out?

Just under 1 in 3 of you had decorations up by Monday morning (Nov 30th) this year, with the other 2/3rds happy to hold out that little bit longer.

What about secret santa, christmas jumpers and end-of-term gifts? Don’t worry, we will be tracking those to find out how much even the most ardent of festivities has been shaken this year!

What about the Christmas holidays?

A worry for teachers is that when you’ve spent a whole half-term in close quarters with so many children, there’s a possibility you could carry Covid into Christmas holiday activities. Thankfully, most schools close on 18th December so there’s a gap between then and Christmas day itself. But many are still worried.

We wondered how you felt about the government’s new rules which mean that 3 households can mix between 23rd and 27th December?

Younger teachers showed the most relief, but also the most anxiety and frustration. Fewer of them are likely to have their own homes and their own children so will be keen to spend time in other households, which might be the reason for both emotions being higher. (Relief that they can go, anxious about whether there will be enough room at the inn!)

Meanwhile, some schools that were planning to take extra time off over Christmas, to ensure teachers could have safe windows of time for isolation, have been told it is a no-no, while others will be allowed to go ahead. Nothing is ever straightforward with this government!

Finally, we know you love the tips, so here are last week’s!