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School readiness, parental abuse and detentions

27 September 2022

As the pound and the economy crashes around us, we hope that you in schools are finally having a nice, unremarkable week of five days of normal lessons! Today we’ve got the slightly downbeat topics of parental abuse, detentions and (lack of) school readiness, but do keep reading to the end to find out about our new podcast!

1. Watching the end of an era

Last week was yet another unusual week, with schools closed and 82% of you watching the Queen’s funeral. 2% of you had managed to visit the lying in state in the preceding week, a pretty amazing achievement given The Queue!

Which teachers were most likely to be watching the Queen’s funeral? We thought it might be the oldest teachers, but we were wrong! Women were more likely to be watching it (82% versus 74% of men). Those teaching with the youngest children were most likely to watch the funeral. And within secondary, humanities teachers watched in the greatest numbers, perhaps seeing it as an opportunity to dose up on some history!

2. Parental abuse

Verbal abuse from parents is an unfortunate part of life as a teacher. Over the last academic year, 31% of you told us that you had been subject to abuse from parents and 10% said you were threatened or subject to verbal abuse on social media.

The social media problem still seems to be getting worse, with the incidence of abuse rising from 6% to 10% over the past three years.

Some of you are at greater risk of parental abuse than others. A massive 73% of headteachers experienced verbal abuse in the last year. Primary teachers have much greater contact with parents at the school gate, which explains why they are also more likely to be subject to abuse. And unfortunately those serving the most deprived communities encounter more abuse both face-to-face and on social media.

3. Who hosts detentions?

Let’s talk about detentions because 22% of you secondary teachers gave one out last Friday. The last time we asked about how they were arranged in secondary schools, a teacher got in touch to say they couldn’t answer because their school didn’t allow detentions. We love to get this feedback because it helps us edit questions for next time around. If you ever have question feedback, use the ‘Contact Us’ setting within the app, or email, or just message us on social media.

Right, back to detentions! It is tricky to do comparisons when we’ve changed the question responses but overall it looks like there is a steady increase in hosting centralised detentions within schools, which makes life much better for teachers with heavy timetables. Still, one third of you are having to host your own detentions if you give one.

There are quite significant differences in detentions across schools serving different types of communities. 94% of private school secondary teachers gave out NO detentions on Friday, compared to just 66% of those teaching in the highest FSM schools.

There is also significant variation in how detentions are organised by communities served. Those in fee-paying and in the most disadvantaged schools are most likely to have centralised detention arrangements, but perhaps for very different reasons? For those in disadvantaged schools who give out detentions several times a week, being asked to run your own would amount to a frequent Lesson 6. But in fee-paying schools where detentions are less common, perhaps centralised detentions allow teachers to supervise after-school activities that often run to 6pm each day (let us know via the usual channels!)?

4. School readiness of 4 year olds

We last asked about the school readiness of 4 year olds back in the somewhat simpler days of 2019, so with another COVID-disrupted cohort starting school this month we thought it was a good time to post the questions again.

The figures seem to have deteriorated a little as a result of COVID. This year (of those primary teachers able to give a view), 54% said that over half their 4-year olds in Reception are not ‘school ready’. In 2019, this figure was 48%.

Overall, primary teachers felt that this cohort (who were around two years old when the pandemic started) have been more affected than those in earlier years. 51% of teachers said the proportion of 4 year olds who are ‘school ready’ has fallen (with just 27% saying this cohort is better prepared).

5. Our new podcast

Finally, we are excited to announce that we have launched a new podcast series with the Chartered College of Teaching. In each episode we will look at hot off the press data on teaching and learning. Episode 1 has just dropped and is on the topic of INSETS – are they worth it? Get listening by clicking on this link.

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: Done is better than perfect

And here’s the rest for your reference: