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Vaccines, uniforms and 'academy autonomy' (don't make us laugh!)

5 May 2021

1. Vaccine Watch 💉

Vaccinations are moving ahead at such speed the government is now considering whether secondary pupils ought to receive it too. But first, those under 40! As you can see, teachers in their 50s were almost all vaccinated by the end of March. By the end of April, the vast majority of teachers in their 40s were also jabbed. For teachers in their 20s and 30s things are going a little more slowly, and while this group don’t tend to have fatal reactions to Covid, the long-term consequences of having it can be quite brutal, which is why the unions are asking that facemasks stay around a little longer. Seems a fair compromise!

2. Genie says: teachers want time!

Over the years the Teacher Tapp genie has asked about many of your wishes. This year: you really want time.

An extra period of PPA has always been popular, right from when we first asked and through to summer last year. However, note that when many of you were at home, you were more keen on tech: ipads, chromebooks, visualisers, etc. This year, the tech is less important (perhaps because you have it now?) And instead 55% of you would choose an extra PPA period for every teacher in your school. Question is: what would you use it for?

3. Teachers in England feel more dejected about Covid

Teacher Tapp has three panels large enough for analysis – in England (EN), the Netherlands (NL) and Flanders in Belgium (VL). Sometimes we ask questions across all three panels so that we can see how the countries compare. Think of it as a modern version of PISA – but it happens every day, instead of once every four years!

Last week, all Tappers were asked if you’d considered leaving the teaching profession because of pandemic concerns. Unfortunately, England came bottom of this league – with more teachers saying they were seriously or considering leaving. However, the Netherlands had (by a slim amount) the most teachers who were actually leaving.

4. Academy autonomy – 🤣

Education secretary Gavin Williamson was back in the news this week, pushing his view that all schools should become academies and setting out his plan to do it. Way back, when the academy programme started, one of its big promises was more ‘autonomy’ for teachers and school leaders. Even back in 2019, Tappers were unconvinced of the promise -with 34% of teachers saying there was either slightly or much less autonomy. Now, that proportion has climbed to 39%. So what’s the sell this time, Gav?

5. What’s in a uniform?

As with autonomy (see above), academies were also once synonymous with fancy uniforms. School in trouble? Give it a facelift and a pipe-lined blazer, and boom- great things! Or so we were told…

Unfortunately, the more branded items a school uniform has, the more expensive they can be as fewer retailers will stock the item. This isn’t always true: in some cases the badges are simply sewn onto the items. But where’s there’s branding, there is often a higher cost, hence why the government have been looking at changing the rules so that schools must allow non-branded items.

Across primary schools, branded jumpers are the most common item – with few primary schools using ties. Although, note the south-east has the highest jumper, ties and branded PE kits. Across our panel 2% reported your school requires branded socks, but that was too low for us to break down any further.

At secondary schools, blazers are common, with ties only required across 50% of schools. Note, however, the south east standing out again – this time for having fewer blazers and ties (though still more branded PE kits). Could it be that the south east’s penchant for grammar school means there are more kids in private primary schools (for prep) and more in secondary moderns (which are less likely to have ties). Other conspiracy theories on a tweet, please.

Frankly, when it comes to preferences, the majority of primary teachers are happy for their pupils to turn up in a practical uniform, whereas secondary teachers want smart uniforms.

Perhaps this is because primary teachers are also more keen on wearing more casual clothes themselves. When you’re dealing with glue sticks, art, PE and the grubby hands of infants, that probably makes more sense! N

At secondary school there’s a lean towards business/casual – with men ever so slightly more likely to have said they prefer business dress (hence why maths is edging out in front on formal attire).

What is clear across both primary and secondary, MOST teachers like a uniform. Answers were the same in both phases, 69% would choose to work in a school with a uniform than one without, if everything else was held equal. Despite all the difficulties with getting compliance, teachers in the UK still vastly prefer it to no uniform.

Finally, we know you love the tips, so here are last weeks…

The most highly rated post of the week was:
Connecting behaviour management routines with teaching practice