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Vaccines, Transitions, Feelings, TAGs and Class Size!

2 June 2021

Oh yeeeeah, you made it to half-term! After a melee of masks, social distancing, assessments and trying to keep it all together in a pandemic – it’s finally time for a break, and a bit of sunshine!

1. We so tired!

By the end of Friday the big word on your lips was that you were TIRED. And it didn’t really matter what job you were in. EVERYONE was tired! That said, heads were marginally more positive, and marginally less tired, than classroom teachers – which is a bit of a role reversal on the previous 12 months.

One of the problems of life is that you don’t have much an overview while you’re living through. (We didn’t make that genius sentence up; John Irving did). Looking back over the past half-term, however, one of the phrases you’ve chosen – after hard work and tiring – is manic. Annoyingly, we don’t have anything to compare this to because it’s a new question. But it’s one we will repeat as things get back to normal (fingers crossed) and we’ll see if manicness is an inherent property of schools, or just a pandemic!

2. Transition time!

It’s that time of your when schools have to think about their new intakes. This year, around half of schools are doing an induction day for reception children and it will be in-person. 3% have already said it will be online. Can such young children really grasp an online induction?!

Around a third of you (36%) still don’t know what it will be. Time is ticking, folks!

Over in secondary school it’s a similar pattern… around half of schools will have Year 6 in for their usual transition induction days. Around a third (37%) don’t know yet, and 11% are doing an online induction. 11-year-olds are possibly savvier at the tech, but it may well mean they’re more scared when turning up in September – so worth planning more induction activities once they arrive if you’re taking this route.

3. What about the prom crowd?

At the end of the line, there’s the Year 11s and 13s who are about to be unleashed into the wider world. We considered what provisions were made for school leavers after their assessments are over.

NOTE: A BIG CAVEAT – affluent schools are more likely to have a sixth form, hence that’s why they’re more likely to be running induction classes or running online classes to prepare for next year.

However, it’s interesting to see how much more career support is being reported in schools with more deprived intakes. Big question remaining: what is the something else that the private schools are doing?! Answers on a postcard (or social media) for that one, please!

4. All of the marking, all of the time!

Comedian David Mitchell does a sketch in which he plays a sports commentator who raves about “All of the sport, all of the time”. For many teachers, this term has been like that. But instead of sport, it’s marking.

In primary school the focus has been on working out whether or not children have missed out on critical learning. While secondary teachers have been drowning under the responsibility of giving each exam year pupil a teacher assessed grade. Luckily, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel!

Around half of teachers have no marking to do over the half-term break. As always, English teachers have the highest load, although Arts & Tech teachers are coming in a close second.

In part the marking load is being driven by TAGs… and it looks like this explains the Art teachers! While most teachers are all finished marking (woo!) arts and tech teachers seem to be struggling, with 9% admitting they’ve barely started. A problem with art is that it’s not something that can easily be chopped back to a shorter exam with less content! Hence, students have been crafting over the term and now there’s a mammoth load to go through. Leaders: worth checking in on your Arts departments to check they’re okay!

5. Good news! Over 30s are nearly vaccinated too!

If marking has been depressing… here’s the good stuff!

81% of teachers over the age of 30 are now vaccinated, as are half of those in their 20s.

Given the speed of jabs, there’s a good chance almost every age group is boshing the vaccines by the time term starts again. Well done. Made us quite emotional to see this one! 💪

6. Does size matter?

Finally, if you’ve ever been told off by people in private schools when you’ve said they have smaller classes on average – here’s some data! Most teachers in fee-paying school have an average class size of under 19 pupils. For most teachers in the state sector, they have an average class size of at least 25. Boom!

Save my streak! #SMS

You’ve told us the last few weeks have been exhausting and we know how hard it’s been! If you would like to have your streak restored over the last half term for any reason then just send us a message via the Contact Us menu back in the Teacher Tapp app with #SMS (for Save My Streak!) and we will fill in the gap! Please don’t use the contact form our website – we might not be able to match your account.

Finally, we know you love the tips, so here are last week’s…

Your most highest-rated tip last week was:

Should we extend the school day.

Given the recent news from the government, this really isn’t surprising.

The rest of the tips from last week are here:

Feedback to help you get shortlisted when applying for jobs

Edu-research is not geeky

My journey to reading

Schools and the tyranny of merit

Disabling video might be better for learning

Is your homework policy supporting parents?