It has been quite the year, eh? We are now a whole year away from the first lockdowns. Back then, schools were encouraged to stay open and try to soldier through. This year, not only is almost every school closed this week, but in comparison to a normal year, far fewer of you are planning to go into school at any time at all. Quite right too – get yourself some rest!
What does resting look like during a pandemic? For many of you on Easter Sunday it involved eating chocolate, seeing family or friends (outdoors, rule of 6), eating a roast dinner and going on yet another walk! As one of our tips this week reflected, there are many different types of rest, and it’s good to see you combining lots of them.
Have you been jabbed?
One question you’ve all been desperate to find out, is how many teachers are now vaccinated? The UK’s age-led approach means there’s a huge imbalance in the figures. But several of you said that your school was offered leftover vaccines from nearby hospitals or other programmes, and you wanted to know if others had the same luck.
Overall, around 44% of teachers are now vaccinated. Almost everyone in the over 50s group is jabbed up, as are almost half of those in their 40s. For younger teachers the figures are around 1 in 3 vaccinated. This does mean that when schools go back after half term there should be a decreased risk to many staff.
Are we nearly back to normal yet?
Given the vaccination rate and the slow opening up, it’s time to start daydreaming about the summer holidays. But how likely is it that we’ll have another year of staycations?
In an ordinary year about 60% of teachers in their 20s go on at least one holiday abroad during the summer, and around 45% of those in other year groups go. Looking at current plans: there’s an age gap reversal! Only 8% of those in their 20s are planning to go abroad, compared to 12% of those in their 40s and 50s. Is this a jab effect?!
How about a phase exchange?
If you can’t go on holiday abroad this year, how about an exchange visit to the different lands of… primary and secondary school? Most secondary teachers strongly identify with their subject, but what would happen if they needed to switch out for a year and teach on the other side? Would they pick the older children, who are most like their current charges? Or teach the youngest ones?!
Modern languages teachers were the keenest to trade, with just 17% saying they would rather not teach in a primary at all. This is good news seeing as primary schools often struggle to find teachers with language skills! (Although secondary schools don’t have enough of a surplus to let them go either).
Year 6 was overwhelmingly the preference, with Year 5 following behind. Only around 4% of teachers selected reception year, with maths and MFL teachers the least likely to pick the very youngest as their preferred charges!
The Future Of Learning
After months of homeschooling there’s a lot of chat about how the ‘future of education’ is now up for grabs and things could be massively different in future. But, will they?
One practical way that education could be different in future is that when schools must close for emergencies (e.g. snow days or broken radiators) then online education could be used instead. Are teachers in favour of this? It depends on your job!
Headteachers and senior leaders were the most positive, with more than half agreeing that online education is a good alternative. Classroom teachers, who are the ones expected to deliver the online lessons, were less keen: 49% up for it, and 44% against.
When it comes to virtual schools becoming an alternative to tradition schools, there’s even less appetite. Only a quarter of teachers felt that there would be more students attending virtually in future, and younger teachers were the most sceptical of all. This may come as a surprise given that young people are presumed to be digital natives. Perhaps their familiarity with technology is also why they realise its limitations!
On the upside, most teachers felt that the use of technology in schools over the past year has made children more prepared for the use of technology in future jobs. Who would have thought that we’d live in a world where even 10-year-olds know the etiquettes of video conferencing. (In fact, they’re often the ones helping their parents to do it!)
That’s it for this week. Over the coming weeks we will be asking lots of questions about recruitment and your job intentions as we try to analyse if the pandemic is still influencing job searches! And don’t forget that for every question asked after Feb 7th you receive a point towards a John Catt voucher. At 150 eligible voucher points you receive a 50% discount, and at 300 you receive a £10 off voucher.
Best wishes – and keep resting!