We are finally over the time of year when Year 6s must do their SATs and are into the era known as: TRIP TIME! (At least, this is how it feels to those of us who working in cities now inundated by children in hi-vis).
But how did SATs season go? It does appear that things were more stressful – with almost twice as many of you saying that most of your pupils showed visibly signs of distress due to the SATs. We don’t know how much of this down to the longer and harder reading paper. But given it prompted a lot of news stories, it probably made some impact.
Parents also seem more wary of SATs this year. Back in 2019, only 4% of primary teachers say they believed a parent had purposely kept their child at home so they didn’t need to sit SATs. This year, 11% of you said the same – a remarkable leap in a few years.
This might show a growing concern among parents about the impact of exams on children, but it also may show a greater willingness of parents to take action which might otherwise be frowned upon. Given the amount of time that children have missed during the pandemic and, this year, due to royal activities and strike days, parents may be feeling more emboldened to make decisions for their children, rather than relying on the school’s advice.
Given all the stresses one might think schools are under more pressure to game – but if they are, it’s not translating into more reports of ‘maladministration’ (the fancy term for ‘doing things that look a bit like cheating’). This year fewer teachers said they did (or were asked) to give extra time, hep with spellings or point out incorrect than at any point since we started asking. July 2018 appears to have been the high-water mark for such activities.
GCSEs and Study Leave
Over in secondary schools GCSEs have begun – and we continued our quest to find out what is happening with study leave. Legally, pupils should be in school until the last Friday of June in the academic year they turn 16. In practice, keeping young people in school when they’ve got a load of exams going can be tricky to timetable and manage. So what do schools do?
It largely depends on the area in which your school is located. If you’re in a more affluent area, only 6-in-10 continue with lessons; 4-in-10 either require students to be at home or provide a choice for being in home or school.
In the most deprived areas, 94% of you said your school continued providing teacher-led lessons and revision sessions even though exams had started. A big difference – and testament again to the additional work done in challenging areas to give more support to learners.
All of this has an impact on gained time and may yet change after the half-term. We are asking some more questions to clarify on this – watch out for them!
Courses: Difference in confidence
A set of hypothetical questions this week got people talking on social media.
The questions asked teachers to decide between different programmes. One is guaranteed to get top grades for 80% of your pupils, but lowers grades for 20%. One gets medium grades for all pupils. And one would give 60% a top grade, 30% a medium grade and 10% the lowest grade.
There are a few reasons to look at this. Initiatives are increasingly reviewed for their impact. As professionals, teachers often face situations where they have to pick an intervention and the evidence may suggest it will do one of these three things: are they all equally acceptable?
The two strongest preferences were either for everyone to get the same, or for students to have a distribution stacked towards the top end. Few teachers felt it was acceptable to get high grades for some at what looked like a direct cost of 20%. Choice 3, the distribution, also had 10% getting lowing grades and 30% medium and yet this seemed much more defensible. Why is this? Send us any idea on Twitter or via ‘Contact Us’ in the app. It’s a hard one to explain!
On the issue of courses for themselves, many teachers stuck to their guns on the 100% but were more likely to risk going for the 80% and 20%. Several teachers on twitter said they were happier taking the chance for themselves, as they would be in control of their level of understanding.
Finally, friends! Here at Teacher Tapp we’ve become a bit obsessed with the idea that relationships with your colleagues are a key to how people feel about their jobs. It’s not a new theory. Workplace psychologists have gone on about it for some time. But the more we dig into our data, and the more we read reports from our SchoolSurveys.com service, the more it seems to matter.
The word we use for this phenomenon is ‘collegiality’ and this week we looked at how it happens over lunch.
First, the good news: only 22% of teachers in their twenties ate alone at lunchtime. Given the level of behaviour stress we see for new teachers, it’s good they’re getting out and sharing the load at lunch time. Unfortunately, as people get older (and usually this means more experienced), they become less likely to eat with others – perhaps because they have access to office spaces or because of duties.
On any given day only around 9% of teachers eat with students.
And in case you’re wondering: there’s no difference between primary and secondary schools on this one!
We also asked people to tell us what made a good colleague. Two things stood out:
- Be Supportive
- Be Funny/Willing to Laugh
What does ‘supportive’ translate into? You can see in the other common words that listening, understanding and sharing seem important.
As for sense of humour… it’s pretty hard to get by in schools without one! But it’s also tricky as not everyone has the same taste for jokes – which can mean that while humour brings some people in, it makes others feel excluded. There isn’t a simple solution but if you ever feel teaching has lost its magic for you, and you’re thinking of leaving: do consider if you can laugh with the people around you, and if not, it may be worth thinking about whether there are people who are similar to you in another school and if finding them, rather than leaving teaching altogether, is a better idea.
It is Golden Ticket Time!
For every 50 questions you answer in May, June and July you’ll receive a Golden Ticket on the app.
Each ticket is eligible for THREE prize draws. The first prize will be drawn in June and is £750, rising to £3,000 for for the final draw in August!
You don’t need to do anything to enter. Just note down your codes so you can check to see which ones win on the prize draw day!
BUT: You’ll need to be teaching in a school in the UK to qualify for the prize. And we’ll need to be able to email you, so make sure yours is up to date in the app! Terms and conditions can be found here.
Amplifying your voice…
Last week all kinds of people were listening to your voice:
The BBC investigated the lack of guidance on trans pupils, heavily featuring Teacher Tapp data, which showed how many teachers are grappling with the issue.
Edapt revealed how 1 in 4 teachers have faced an allegation from pupils and parents (TES, £). It’s not an easy topic to discuss but crucially important as people going through processes can have a traumatic time.
But the surprise of the week was Gillian Keegan pointing out that 41% of teachers were in favour of the previous pay deal if it was fully funded.
Unfortunately for her, she seemed to be suggesting it meant that everything was good with her original deal. But that’s not the right interpretation. The way the deal was due to be funded meant lots of schools would miss out on the amounts needed. Indeed, we asked the question in response to many of you who asked us to poll on it, so you could register that you felt the funding was a crucial part of the deal.
So we are pleased Keegan sees that teachers might have voted for the pay deal if it had been fully funded – but, ultimately, the teachers didn’t agree that it was!
The most read tip this week was: Taming the email menace
And here are the rest for your reference: