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Windy weather and the long half-term!

27 October 2020

Hello! Over 80% of you are on half-term this week (woo!) – well done for surviving. We’ve also got a new app rolling out on. Most of you are settling into it perfectly. For those where there is a glitch, or you lose any streaks/badges, do please message us via the feedback button in the app (top right menu) or email and we will sort you out!

Right, onto results…!

1. Pain now, or pain later?

A constant problem of the autumn/winter term is that it is long. Really long. It can mean a 7 or even 8 week half-term. But when would you prefer the long slog: the first half, or the second half of term?

Given we were heading towards a much needed half-term, we thought people might defer the pain and pick a longer second-half but the picture was pretty universal: a long September/October slog is much preferred!

One reason might be that the weather gets progressively worse and you are convinced that weather makes kids go a bit bonkers! Just 3% of teachers felt weather didn’t affect behaviour (heads were a bit more sceptical).

But, look! Which weather makes things worse differs depending on job! Headteachers mostly fear wind, whereas 23% of classroom teachers felt rain was the worst and 17% worried about snow. Possibly the 7% of classroom teachers who felt hot sunshine caused the worst behaviour are in boiling hot computer rooms or ones without blinds?!

2. Dealing with the rainiest October

This October is one of the rainiest since records began in the 1800s. By the middle of the month, many areas had received over 150% of October’s usual precipitation. What does this mean for breaktimes in your school?

The majority of primary schools keep all students inside (78%) – which may be okay given the current bubble situations, although it’s unlikely to be helping with the claustrophobia of daily life.

Only 28% of secondary schools make it compulsory for students to stay inside when it’s raining. More worryingly, 6% require all students to go outside during rainy break times, due to lack of space.

3. When should an inspector call?

Ofsted are likely to resume inspections in January, but support for that timetable is seeping away. In the graph below, the dark green bars show support for a January or April return. When we asked teachers in the summer to say when Ofsted should come back, around 12% said January, and around 8% said April. Those numbers have now dramatically dropped – with fewer than 5% of teachers agreeing with a January return.

What should inspectors do in the meantime is a complex question for the inspectorate, but there certainly isn’t any belief that normal inspections are the way forward any time soon.

4. What do you love about your job?

After this year’s upheaval, and everyone learning new ways to do things, we thought you might have changed what you love most about your job. Again, we were square wrong!

Teaching lessons has been the runaway most-loved part of your job since we first asked in 2018 – and the results haven’t changed a jot. Almost the exact same percentage of you picked lesson planning and pastoral support too. And marking still managed to get exactly 0% of people picking it!

In terms of what you would like to improve in your work, however, you chose a more varied approach. Secondary teachers are keen to get better at dealing with classroom behaviour and routines, whereas primary teachers wanted to gain deeper subject knowledge – which may not be surprising given they teach so many of them!

Engagement with parents was also desired by around 12-13% of teachers. We thought this might be much higher given all the liaison with pupils when at home this year, but it’s the same as when we asked in October 2019. Plus ça change,…!

Before you go planning next year’s INSETs around these topics, beware that they change with experience level. Although behaviour is popular, it’s far more desired by those who recently joined the profession, whereas an interest in parental engagement grows over time. (And subject knowledge is evergreen!)

Finally, we know you really love the daily reads, so here are last week’s…