Last week, almost every school in the UK was on Easter holidays. But what were you doing, given all the restrictions?
A walk? Lovely walk? Another walk, perhaps?
On Easter Sunday, around half of you did go for a walk! But, those in their 50s were the least likely to do so. Is that because 98% of you are now vaccinated and were having secret raves instead? (Don’t respond, we don’t want to hold any info that will get you into trouble!)
Other Easter Sunday activities included eating chocolate, roast dinners and taking part in Easter Egg Hunts if you had young children. Around 12% of you also attended a religious service, either in person or online. If you’re interested in teacher religiosity, we’ve written about it before here.
Unfortunately, while Easter Sunday was a fun day, many of you still intended to spend time on schoolwork across the week. Only 1 in 4 classroom teachers said they wouldn’t be doing any work.
Heads, who are surely exhausted by this point, were the least likely to say they’d be doing no work. 😬
Amid our worries about heads, we also noticed they’re much more likely to be drinking tea and coffee during term-time. At first, we thought this might be because they spend more of their time at a desk, which at least allows having a drink. But is it really that heads need the caffeine to pull through their extremely long days? (The average head reports working at least 50 hours per week during term time).
Finally, we looked at the difference in the Easter break for those with children and those without. While those without children were marginally more likely to have picked one of the higher restful scores, the difference was perhaps not as big as might be assumed.
Unfortunately, those with children were less likely to be catching up on quality sleep or enjoying lower stress levels!
What would be YOUR preference for exams?
Now that GCSEs and A levels are disrupted, many people are pushing for a rethink of the exam system. But how much are people thinking about what they’d have preferred when at school?
We asked Teacher Tappers to imagine they were taking GCSEs this year and what they would have preferred: teacher assessment, teacher and school run assessments, some exams plus teacher exams, or normal external exams.
There were huge differences by subject. Primary teachers were big fans of teacher and school-run assessments. In contrast, maths and science teachers were much more in favour of normal exams.
Interestingly, this is the same pattern when we asked teachers what should have happened this year. Maths and science teachers always reveal a strong preference for exams, while those in primary and the arts prefer teacher assessment. We’ve usually assumed this is because maths and science are harder to mark without using tests.
YET, the findings for this question would suggest teachers in these subjects hold an inherent view about the worth of exams overall. In last week’s question, Tappers weren’t asked about their subject or how difficult assessments are for teachers. It was supposed to be about their preference as a student for all subjects. That we still got the same preferences across certain subject groups was in some ways surprising, but it confirms that maths and science teachers really aren’t keen on non-exam approaches!
How are primary schools building back?
Given the amount of disruption to pupils over the past year, how often are primary schools prioritising maths and English over other curriculum subjects? Those of you in the most deprived areas are doing it most often. And only around 26% of primary schools said they are not prioritising it at all.
Although we don’t have any evidence that behaviour has got worse, we wondered whether you felt there had been a reduction in children’s attention levels. Most of you felt it had reduced for at least some children, and 18% of teachers said it had reduced for most children in affluent areas.
The data from this question is tricky to interpret. It has two complicating factors: recollection over a long time period, and it was relative to attention last year. Reading the graph, you may jump to the conclusion that attention levels are worst in affluent areas.
However, it could be that before Christmas, this group had very high levels of attention, and while there is a reduction across the class, it’s only slight. We also know that accurate recall is difficult over long periods – it’s even difficult to remember how many hours you worked in a week!