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Strike update, phone rules and restorative justice!

31 January 2023


It would be remiss of us not to start this week’s blog by saying that many of you will be reading this on the eve of the first day of industrial action for teachers in England and Wales. As you know, this is a fast-moving picture and for many it’s a very personal decision whether to strike or not. We’ll be doing our best to cover the strikes as best we can – but we know these are difficult questions! Rest assured there will be some non-strike related questions too.

A big thank you to all of you who are tapping away during this particularly difficult time! This week, your responses have been featured on lots of news outlets reporting on the strikes. Your data also appeared on the front page of today’s Times (31st January)! Your responses are so important in making your voices on the ground heard!

Last week, we covered your feelings towards strikes in some detail. So as the strikes get closer, we only wanted to know one thing on the subject: is your school planning to close on Wednesday because of the strikes?

London is down to see the most disruption – with 23% of schools closing to all pupils on February 1st, and a further 46% only open to some pupils. On the other end of the scale, just 9% of schools in the Midlands are closing fully.

Primary schools are seeing less disruption than secondary schools – 40% of primary school say they are remaining open to all pupils on Wednesday, compared to 22% of secondary schools.

Phone Policies

Now, let’s move onto non-striking matters! This week, we were thinking about phones in schools. Staff phones, mobile phone policies and personal phone use.

Among primary schools, phone policies have remained largely unchanged since we started asking. Nearly three-quarters of primary schools collect phones at the start of the school day. In secondary schools rules have become stricter. In 2018, less than half of secondary teachers said phones weren’t to be used under any circumstance. Fast forward to 2022 and this figure has risen to 60%.

For staff, there hasn’t been much change since we first asked! Most of you say that you can use your phones during the school day. 25% say you can use them freely, and 69% able to use them in personal breaks. Unlike students’ phones, rules for staff mobile phones is more relaxed in secondary schools. 41% of secondary teachers say they can use their phones freely, compared to just 9% of primary teachers.

Restorative Justice

One teacher recently asked how restorative justice affects behaviour in schools. It had been a fair while since we last asked about restorative justice policies, so we’ve delved back into the Teacher Tapp archives!

The percentage of teachers who say restorative justice/conversations are mentioned in their school’s behaviour policy has increased from 46% to 56%. However, the biggest increase has actually come from Primary teachers, 53% of whom now say that restorative conversations are mentioned in their behaviour policies.

So while we are seeing an increase in the number of schools employing restorative justice policies, many of your remained understandably cautious. More than half of you said that to do it well, you needed extended training. This sentiment was echoed in your open responses, with many saying it “forms just one part” of a behaviour system.

In particular, the inquisitive Tapper wanted to know whether schools with restorative justice policies had better behaviour.

As already mentioned, there are different ways that restorative conversations are used by schools. However, teachers who say their school employs such conversations say that their lessons were more often disrupted by bad behaviour. Furthermore, schools with these policies also say that they are dealing with more extremely disruptive behaviour outside of lessons as well.

And finally…

We know you love our blogs, so…

The most read blog post of the week was using your planner to hold your students to account

Other posts last week were: