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Working hours, World Book Day and the ideal GCSE course length!

8 March 2022

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1. Working 9 to 5, and some!

Despite the best effort of policymakers – the magic solution to workload has yet to be found. Many of you continue to be buried in tasks that take more and more time.

This has been going on for some time. Back in March 2018, 47% of you already said you were working longer hours than the previous year.

Unfortunately, this has only worsened since – now more than half of you say that you’re working longer hours than in 2021.

Is it the case that teachers are actually working longer hours than they were a year ago, though, or is this just a feeling, given everything else going on in the world? Well, let’s crack out our archive to see!

It does appear that compared to the same point last year, you are working more hours now. 38% of you said you working more than 50 hours in the last week of March 2021 – this has risen by 10 percentage points to 48% this March!

Schools had already returned by the time we took the measure in 2021, so we are comparing similar situations, though exams had been cancelled.

Primary teacher workload has increased most in the past year. More than half of primary teachers said they were working 50 hours or more last week.

Many things influence a teacher’s workload: lesson planning and preparation being just one of them. However, primary teachers are finding resources particularly hard to come by, according to your latest answers. Last week, the average primary teacher spent between 1 and 3 hours searching for resources – and it’s even worse for EYFS/KS1 teachers, 60% of whom spent over an hour looking for resources.

Science and Languages teachers appear to be the secondary subjects which are searching least often for resources. Almost three-quarters of those subject teachers spent less than an hour looking for resources. On the other hand, maths teachers are either overwhelmed with options or are struggling to find the right thing (maybe both?), with 42% spending more than an hour looking for resources.

2. How long should GCSE courses be?

Two or three year GCSEs? It’s the eternal question that never seems to get resolved.

Four years ago, the two-year GCSE held a 22 percentage point lead over its rival (61% vs. 39%), but in the time since its popularity has wained now having a slender 10 percentage point lead (55% vs. 45%).

These are averages, however, and hide lots of variation between subjects.

Our initial assumption was that three-year GCSEs would be more popular among the core subjects; English, Maths and Science. But, English teachers were the least likely to want a three-year GCSE, with just 20% selecting to start in year 9.

As expected, many non-core subjects voted for a two year GCSE – is this so that all students can experience the subject for another year before deciding to drop them?

Science teachers were the most adamant on a three-year course, with 71% saying they would start in Year 9.

3. World Book Day 2022

World Book Day is a little like marmite – people seem to either love it or hate it! Over the years much of the debate has centred around equity of access for the poorest students amid the event’s commercialisation.

Surprisingly, all this debate hasn’t meaningfully changed schools’ activities for World Book Day!

In 2019, 50% of you said students dressed up for it. Now, that figure is 47% – not quite as much change as some may have expected!

That said, it is primary schools who are making the most of World Book Day, with 71% saying their students dressed up, along with 59% of primary teachers themselves!

Secondary teachers are still making the most of World Book Day, but with fewer costumes. Only 20% of secondary schools didn’t do anything for World Book Day.

The last time we asked about World Book Day, we found that schools in the poorest areas were most likely to get keds into costumes. This does still appear to be the case – but only just! 75% of primary teachers in the poorest areas said their students dressed up, compared to 69% in FSM Q1.

How do you make sure all students are all able to take part? Do let us know on social media (@TeacherTapp) or via Contact Us in the app.

4. A Little Redesign

Over at Teacher Tapp Towers, we are busy redesigning the app so it has all the new whizzy branding – AND is ready to grant vouchers for the soon-to-be-returning-because-everyone-loves-it John Catt Voucher scheme. 😊 (We’d stick a fun gif here, but we’ve learned this week it breaks our blog archive, so NO GIF, JUST IMAGINE JOYFUL PUPPIES INSTEAD).

If you want a quick peek of the redesign, there’s a tiny preview here. We can’t wait to reveal it and start bringing in some fun new features too!

Finally… we know you love the daily read, so here are the ones from last week

The most read tip from the past week was: Let’s just mark the damn books!

And here are the rest for your reference: