1. One Britain or not One Britain?
A campaign, started in West Yorkshire a few years ago, reached the entire nation’s attention this week as schools across the UK were encouraged by the Department for Education (via their twitter account) to support One Britain One Nation day. (Yes, we know Britain and the UK are not the same thing. But this is what happened!)
Would any schools be taking part? Nearly 70% of teachers said you’d had heard of it, presumably because of the news leading up to it this week, but very few schools held an event recognising it.
Indeed, there was quite a backlash online to both the campaign and its promoted song, as well as the message of the day, which had been promoted to the Prime Minister and Education minister. 3% of the respondents said they couldn’t take part even if they’d wanted to as children weren’t in school that day – note our weighted numbers don’t include teachers from Scotland where many schools had already broken up that week.
2. The pressures of increased cases
The number of people covering for a staff member for either lessons or duties has risen to nearly around 1 in 3 teachers covering their colleagues in the last week. This is higher than in the lead up to lockdown 1 and higher than the end of November when we last asked. Note that teachers are also doing more duties, and the number of classes increasing to cover absences is back to March 2020 rates.
Compared to March last year and the autumn term, fewer teachers are writing materials to support remote learning – although, given we’ve been at this for over a year now it may be because some materials can now be reused!
Nevertheless, there are some parts of the country where more remote learning is happening than in others.
In the North West over 40% of teachers last week were writing remote learning materials – and 41% were doing extra duties to cover for absent colleagues.
Absences are affecting secondary pupils and teachers more than primary, except when it comes to cover duties. (Possibly due to the fact there are more secondary teachers in a single school and so each person is less likely to be called to cover a duty).
All of these patterns map geographically with the North West still standing out as having the most absences by some way, with the South West bringing up the rear. We reported a few weeks ago that the South West had the lowest use of masks in their classrooms once restrictions lifted.
3. Who’s double jabbed?
As much as the absence figures are going in the wrong direction, one of the differences in this current surge is that more teachers are now vaccinated. Being vaccinated doesn’t completely assure against illness, but it substantially reduces the risks of severe infection.
Back in March when schools re-opened, only 43% of teachers had received a vaccine at all. Now it’s 97%. Only those in their 20s lag behind a little (around 8% were not yet vaccinated before the weekend).
When it comes to the all-important second jab, which boosts the protection substantially, things are more varied. Overall, a majority of teachers have been vaccinated but younger teachers are less likely to be double-jabbed yet. For those in their twenties, just 1 in 3 has received a second dose and even among those over 40 there is still a substantial minority (30%) to receive their shot.
5. Sports Day
Sports Days are another casualty of the pandemic. Some of you will still be running around fields and trying to stop children from crying after a loss, while other schools have called it quits.
Fee-paying schools are most likely to be pushing forward with their usual activities, while state schools are more likely to be prevaricating or have cancelled.
Primary schools are also much more likely to be running an event than secondary schools, with those in poorer areas more likely to have cancelled or be waiting to hear about arrangements.
If this seems like it’s a better deal for pupils in private schools, it’s worth remembering that it does also mean that teachers in the fee-paying sector are more often required to help with supervision of sports day. Great if you enjoy being rained on or getting sunburned, less exciting for the outside shy among us!
Finally, it’s worth noting that if you want to be a headteacher… start prepping for the teachers race at sports day. 😉
Call out for Primary colleagues
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📰 We love sharing daily reads with you all on and we’re always on the look out for ones we’ve not featured. It’s really easy if you’d like to make a suggestion to do so here.
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Finally, we know you love the daily read, so here are the ones from last week
The highest rated tip was: 40 things I feel most guilty about
And here’s the rest of them for reference