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Summer Reading, Lockdown Ratings, & How To Behave At The Poolside

28 July 2020

1. All Of The Books!

Every year, at the start of the holidays, we see teachers optimistically describing all the things they plan to do during the six week break. Repaint the living room! Go running every day! And, inevitably, READ ALL THE BOOKS!

How many books does the average teacher think they’re going to actually read? It really depends on their subject. English teachers are predictably the most mad for texts, with more than half saying they plan to read at least six books! And about a quarter planning to read more than nine.

If previous years are anything to go by, this rate is probably over-optimistic. The figures are almost exactly the same as when we asked last August. But when we followed up in the September, we found that 35% of teachers hadn’t hit their expected mark! And headteachers were the most likely to have over-estimated. So if you see teachers claiming they’re reading hundreds of books this holiday, be assured that most are not!

ON THE UPSIDE: Our GIANT AUGUST RAFFLE IS BACK. For every question you answer in August, you will receive a raffle ticket towards the big PRIZE DRAW. You will win for your school an ENTIRE CPD LIBRARY of over £350 worth of books for your school, PLUS two visualisers (one for you, one for a friend!), AND if you choose, you can takeover Teacher Tapp for the day and ask the questions. What would you like to know?!

No registration needed. Just keep answering throughout August. And to make sure your school has the best chance of winning, tell all your colleagues too! (Ts&Cs here)

2. Looking Back Over Lockdown

In the calm of summer, and with our hindsight goggles on, how do teachers feel their schools did during lockdown? A senior leader on Twitter asked us to find out.

When it comes to average pupils, private schools were most likely to highly rate their offering for pupils with state-funded secondary schools the most humble (honest?) about their approach.

When it comes to vulnerable pupils, however, the private sector fell back and private primary schools were the most likely to go for very low scores. Could it be that the focus on livestreamed lessons in the private sector was actually quite exclusionary for those pupils who couldn’t join in? State secondaries, however, gave themselves higher scores for supporting vulnerable pupils than average ones.

How about YOU? How well were you supported to get to grips with distance learning? Headteachers were pretty convinced their school offered good support with the majority (68%) rating their school as 8 or above.

Maybe it’s easier to get that support when you’re in school a lot – as most headteachers were. For classroom teachers, many of whom were at home, the scores were lower! Only 37% gave a score of 8+. Around the same proportion gave a score in the bottom half of the scale 😬.

3. Hide! It’s The Holidays

Imagine you’re on holiday. In a glorious all-inclusive hotel, with beautiful endless buffets and meals, and the most gorgeous pool. You plan to spend every last minute enjoying the facilities.

Suddenly, you hear a set of familiar voices. A family with 3 children from school are also at the hotel. What’s your immediate reaction?

Given three options of pretend you haven’t seen them, speak once and hide for the rest of the holiday, and be generally chatty throughout the holiday, most of you went for the speak once and avoid option!

Job role, seniority and phase (i.e. primary or secondary) didn’t matter much for guessing your reaction. But men did turn out to be a bit more sociable, with 30% of you going for the chatty option over just 24% of women.

Why is this approach preferred? One reason might be that it’s a cultural norm. Over at Teacher Tapp Netherlands, our new panel of Dutch teachers had quite a different reaction. The sample is tiny at the moment, so caution is advised, but several teachers got in touch because they found the question bizarre, with just 1% going for the avoid option. Among UK teachers it was 11%!

TT Netherlands

Let’s now imagine you’ve escaped the family from school but OH NO! Now another set of children, who you’ve never met, are now being a pain in the pool area. What do you do?

Men were much more likely to say they would deal with the problem than women (45% to 31%). Women were most likely to fume silently, and were much more likely to leave the pool area.

4. An Ode to September

How times have changed. Two months ago, you were contemplating the June return to schools. At that time, just a quarter of primary teachers and one-fifth of secondary teachers expressed a preference for teaching in school rather than from home – even on the assumption that all options were equally safe.

Now, thinking about next term, if able to assume that all options are equally safe, 80% of primary teachers would prefer to be in full-time face-to-face teaching. Secondary teachers are less certain, with around 1-in-3 wishing to stay in some kind of hybrid model but two-thirds would prefer to return to school if given a free choice. The numbers of teachers who would like to teach from home, full-time, are almost none. The last term was clearly not a great experience for most people!

5. Finally, we know you enjoy the daily tips, so here are last week’s