Another week, another set of results, BUT FIRST….
1. The update has happened! ?
Over at Teacher Tapp Towers we’ve been working furiously on an update to stop the bug that sometimes crashed the app when new questions arrived and caused notifications to go into a mini-meltdown when the clocks changed. (If you didn’t notice this, don’t worry – you were a lucky one!)
NOTE: If you were one of the users who turned notifications off to stop the app from crashing, please turn them back on now! That way you’ll get your 3.30pm reminder each day. ⏰
An exciting new feature means the app tells you what it’s loading on start-up so you can be sure it’s not stuck. Unless this description itself gets stuck. If that happens, hard close the app and open it again. (The solution to 99% of problems). We’re not expecting this to happen often, though. So if it does, let us know.
Thanks for sticking with us through the past two months of experimenting. We have more new app features ready for trial over the next month, so bear with us as we figure it out. It’s going to be fun.
2. Speaking of which, sorry about the multiple choice issue! ?
Last week we asked you about INSETs on interesting topics, such as mental health and dyslexia.
But… erm… yeah. We forgot to switch on the button that lets you give us multiple responses.
We will re-run the question in the future to get the right answer!
RIGHT – ONWARDS TO THE RESULTS…
3. October half-term? We’d like TWO weeks please!
The September to December marathon of a term is always long, and dark, and damp. Would it be better if there were a longer break in the middle?
Yes, is the answer! Most teachers (79%) voted for a TWO week October half-term although they were divided over how to achieve it. A smaller proportion (36%) said they would choose shorter summer holidays, while more (43%) wanted a longer school day to make up for it.
Either way: two week October seems like a win for making teachers happy.
Why do teachers hold so dear to the long summer holiday? Not for the opportunity to travel, apparently!
Most of you only go away on holiday for somewhere between 1 and 2 weeks. And 14% don’t go anywhere at all! Are those longer school days really worth it to keep the 6 week summer?
4. Do you run school clubs?
With workload a serious concern in most schools there have been whispers that extra-curricular activities are taking a hit – particularly lunchtime clubs. Can teachers do all their planning and marking, as well as run the football team, put on Little Shop of Horrors, and get their knitting needles out at breaktime?
We asked and found:
Only around 12% of teachers run a lunchtime club all year round, and 20% run an after-school club.
A whopping 51% of secondary teachers never run a lunchtime or after-school club — not even for part of the year.
But: does this matter?
Possibly. For many children, extra-curricular activities prompt passions that later inform careers. Dancing, theatre, sports: all can seem frivolous but are the backbone of creative industries in Britain. Coding and STEM clubs are getting more girls into building apps (and robots). Debating clubs give pupils the confidence to speak out.
In some schools, more likely secondaries, teachers are not running clubs because well-resourced pastoral teams and teaching assistants do so. In others, however, clubs may not be running at all. And this is a problem.
For those teachers who do get involved, meanwhile, the consequence is likely to be a wildly busy day. Is that a good thing? We note that in primary schools, teachers are more likely to run a club for at least part of the year. How long is that part? And what does it involve? We need to drill down and see if this affects other aspects of work.
But, for now, if you are running a club all year, you should know you are in the minority.
5. To Mark Like No One Is Watching
A Teacher Tapp panellist asked us how often schools collect pupil attainment data from teachers, so we asked and found:
More than half of schools are collecting pupil attainment data every half-term. Yup, every six weeks.
The workload implication is enormous. The effectiveness is debatable – with points on either side. What’s certain, however, is that where schools do not have easy systems for the collation and analysis of this data, a lot of resource is going to waste.
We also asked how many hours panellists spent marking pupil work outside of classroom hours each week:
18% of teachers said they spent seven or more hours EACH WEEK marking books — that’s the equivalent of a whole extra work day per week.
But then we got to thinking.
A London teacher asked us: Would teachers continue marking at the same rate if there were no Ofsteds, no internal data collections, no negative consequences at all?
We weren’t sure. So we asked.
And found that around half of teachers would either continue with all or most of their current marking even if there were no negative consequences from external sources (such as the head, or Ofsted).
But, we wondered, are the people who spend the longest on marking books also the ones who would limit themselves if there were no consequences?
So we looked!
First up: around half of teachers in all categories said they would do half their current marking load or less.
BUT, here’s the weird thing:
How long you spend on marking each week doesn’t relate to how easily you would stop. Around half of people would carry on!
Or, to put it another way, even if Ofsted called off the dogs, and senior managers told teachers they could do what they wanted, some teachers would still choose to mark for substantial numbers of hours.
Why? Do they believe marking is effective? Is it because it exam related? We need to find out but it’s a first step in showing that workload is not all about the external negative consequences.
6. Is performance review useful?
At this time of year, lots of school leaders sit their staff down and discuss their work quality in order to fulfil the requirement, from 2013, that schools match salaries to performance.
But how useful is the process?
First up… we found that 26% of people haven’t had a performance review recently.
Maybe this is because people are only due to sit down this half-term. But, if not, and they are not getting them at all, then an alarming number of teachers are missing out on this requirement. We’ll re-run the question another time to get a better sense.
Secondly, we found:
Around a third of teachers think their performance review was a purposeful exercise. (But 20% also thought it was ill-informed).
Not a slam dunk either way for performance-related processes. Could be better. Could be worse.
7. Who wants to be a headteacher? (Not you!)
Headteachers are always in short supply. So how easy is it to convince people to step up?
Umm. We don’t have great news…
More than half of the Teacher Tapp panellists said they would either definitely or probably not want to be a headteacher.
Most worrying: ‘definitely not’ was more common than probably not
That said, 27% of panellists said they would consider it (‘yes, perhaps’) and 12% said they ‘definitely’ wanted to become a headteacher (which is about how many the system actually needs).
Killer next step for us? What makes someone more likely to say ‘definitely not’ or ‘definitely yes’? We’d love to know your thoughts on what you think cause these differences so we can dig into the data and see if you’re right.
8. Finally, as ever, we learned that you looooove the daily tips! So here’s last week’s links…
- Deliberate practice techniques
- Teaching reading
- Academic research and the classroom
- Brain training
Right folks, that’s it for now. Have a great week!
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