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What Do Teachers Do In The Summer Holidays?

22 July 2019

It is either the holidays for you (woo!) or the end-of-term. But what do teachers do in the summer holidays?

1. The South Are Going To The Bitter End

There is a genuine North-South divide in the way that holidays are distributed. The purple lines below show teachers still in school this week (e.g. after today) even though it is now July 22nd! As you can see, the East of England, South East and South West are battling through. This is even more alarming when you realise that temperatures in the south this week are due to hit 100 degrees. There isn’t enough sympathy in the world to cover that horror.

Amid the heat and tiredness of term-end, what are teachers doing before the summer holidays?

Video lessons’ are still a bit popular. In primary schools, 26% of teachers showed a ‘totally fun video’, and in secondary schools 28% of teachers showed an educational/subject-related video. The Lego Movie is definitely about Design & Technology, right?

Loads of you also had an end-of-year party! In fact, some of you even sent us pics of you in the pub on Friday afternoon on social media! Cheers! 🍻 [Remember: Teachers who party together, achieve together]

2. When do teacher’s get their timetable? (And do they like them?)

A few weeks back we asked about primary class allocation for next year, but have needed to wait for the secondary timetable to get finished. Here’s the latest…

First of all, 14% of teachers still hadn’t seen their new timetable for next year. Ugh.

Overall teachers are more happy with their new timetable than the last one. Ever the optimists?!?


We also often hear that schools start the new academic year in June or July and a teacher wanted to know how common it was. Turns out it is not very common.

It almost never happens in primary, where 91% have transition time of a day or less, and 7% have just a single week transition. So those of you already teaching on next year’s timetable – you’re the strange ones!

3. Where are teachers going on holiday?

Young teachers are most likely to be going abroad at least once during the holidays and most likely to go for either short or very long periods of time.

Once teachers hit 30, however, the likelihood of going abroad over the summer drops below 50%!

On the upside, the likelihood you will do any paid work, beyond your standard teaching job, also drops off as people get older. 15% of secondary teachers in their 20s are doing additional work, as are 10% of primary teachers of the same age.

4. How many books are YOU going to read?

Do you currently have plans to read a million things while on holiday? As well as clear out your wardrobes, get fit, and eat well? You’re not alone! Teachers are often wildly optimistic about their 6 weeks holiday, and book reading is one of the biggies.

Almost everyone is planning to read at least one book! And around 1 in 3 teachers is planning to read 6 or more books. And 1% are planning to read over 30. GOOD LUCK!

There is some difference to book-reading by age, with those over 40 the most serious about their reading. Is this an age thing, or is it a generational thing? Will the teachers in their 20s read more when they are in their 40s?

We also find that English teachers are the most likely to be reading a lot, though not so much more than primary, humanities and language teachers. Oddly, the scientists among you are not so convinced with 5% saying they plan to read NO books.

Question: What else should we be asking about to see what teachers do in the summer holidays?

5. Is the summer holiday too long?

With the holidays coming up we’ve redone a question we’ve asked several times before about the ideal length of the summer break. In the past, the results were fairly even.

When everyone is facing a delicious six weeks off, however, the thought of reducing this to four weeks suddenly seems less appealing and the numbers have gone down!

A further psychological note: it appears that whether you have already finished for school also makes a difference. Those of you who had already finished were much more averse to reducing to four weeks! Why? We don’t know for sure but humans tend not to want to lose things they already have. For those teachers who were already close to finishing, the thought of having to stay on for longer is likely to be far worse than for those teachers who are already staying in for another week anyway. This is another good example of how the timing of questions can influence the outcome.

6. Should there be a Skills Test?

Finally this week, we did a serious policy question after the government said it would be removing the numeracy and literacy skills bar for new teachers. Many of you will remember taking the skills tests either before or during your training year – perhaps some of you even remember doing that strange ICT one?!? Anyway, nearly all of you think that having numeracy and literacy skills tests is important.

Primary teachers felt it was more important – maybe not surprising seeing as they all have to teach maths and English!

But, in both cases, teachers were strongly in favour of keeping the status quo. It is a shame to see this one go!

7. Watch out for our competitions!

Okay, there’s an extra finally… we have LOADS of competitions out this summer. We are repeating the book raffles as well as launching contests on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Keep an eye out on the app and on social media for announcements.

8. And yes, finally, finally, finally, we know you love the tips so here they are for this week: