Teachers’ workload

Primary schools in England hold half-term Sats revision classes | Education

Primary schools in England are holding half-term and Easter holiday revision classes for pupils as young as six to prepare them for standardised tests known as Sats, the Guardian has learned. The use of holiday “booster sessions” for pupils in year two was robustly condemned by the Department for Education (DfE) and major teaching unions, with one union leader describing them as “an extraordinarily bad idea” with no positive impact. One primary school in north London has invited its year…

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Don’t buy teacher a Christmas gift unless it is wine, survey suggests | Education

Parents in a last-minute panic about Christmas gifts for their children’s teachers don’t need to worry: most teachers say the present they’d prefer is a homemade card – although primary school teachers would be just as happy with booze. With most schools in England closing for the Christmas holidays on Friday, an anonymous survey of more than 5,000 UK teachers conducted by the Teacher Tapp app revealed teachers would rather receive homemade cards from their pupils than the traditional offerings…

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Teaching unions criticise Tory plan for snap Ofsted visits | Education

School leaders and teaching unions have reacted with dismay to the Conservative party’s plans for longer and more disruptive Ofsted inspections, with one warning the changes would “do more harm than good” if implemented. Boris Johnson denied that the changes – lengthening a standard secondary school inspection from two to three days and carried out at no notice – were “draconian”. But representatives of headteachers argued that the proposals were potentially damaging, forcing schools in England to divert energy into…

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Teachers risk dying in classrooms if illnesses ignored, union told | Education

Teachers in the UK run the risk of “dying in their classrooms” if they are forced to work through serious illnesses, a teaching union conference has been told after a member revealed dramatic evidence. Neil Jeffrey, a secondary school teacher, opened his shirt to show the scars left by a triple heart bypass operation he underwent 10 weeks ago, during a debate on a motion about age discrimination against older teachers. “The longer teachers have to work, the greater the…

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‘I would burn in hell before returning’ – why British teachers are fleeing overseas | Education

Perched high on a hill above the historic Swiss city of St Gallen, set in 25 acres of private parkland, sits one of the most expensive boarding schools in Europe. Costing up to £100,000 for an academic year, the Institut auf dem Rosenberg is more than twice as expensive as Eton college and educates the offspring of some of the wealthiest people in the world. Most of whom, it turns out, will be taught by teachers who trained in the…

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Teacher knows best? Not any longer as parents muscle in on the classroom | Education

When Geoff Barton started teaching in 1985, parents’ evening – a brief five-minute chat – was the only time teachers saw most mums and dads. If families had a concern, they might write a letter, or call the school office. Fast-forward three decades and the dynamics between schools and parents have changed dramatically. The voice of parents is louder, their expectations higher – and it’s much easier to instantly broadcast a complaint. Research by academics at Bath Spa University suggests…

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Record levels of stress ‘put teachers at breaking point’ | Education

Teachers are suffering from more severe psychological problems than at any point this century, experts have warned. In an alarming report they reveal the school workforce is being pushed to “breaking point”. Education Support, a charity that gives mental health help to education professionals, predicts school standards will fall and mental health problems in the classroom will multiply if the government does not act quickly to offer teachers more support. Seen exclusively by the Observer, the charity’s teacher wellbeing index…

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Fears that new tests will damage four-year-olds ‘unfounded’ | Education

With studious concentration the four-year-old lines up blue plastic bears and counts to five. Then she points to grass in a picture and recognises the letter “g”. She is one of the first children to take the government’s new reception baseline assessments for four and five-year-olds piloted in 9,000 schools and nurseries in England over the past six weeks. The idea of testing such young children as they start school is controversial, especially with early-years teachers and parents who last…

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10 things teachers want to say to parents, but can’t | Education

1 Your kids are not your mates Something I’m starting to hear with worrying frequency within the primary school setting is “my daughter’s my best friend”. Often, this rings alarm bells. Your kids aren’t your mates. You’re their parent, and your responsibility is to provide them with guidance and boundaries, not to drag them into your own disputes. Your nine-year-old doesn’t need to know about your bitter feud with his friend’s mother, or which dad you’ve got the  hots for at the school…

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‘I will never return to teach in England’: the UK teachers finding refuge abroad | Education

The English education system is broken, says Freya Odell, a state secondary school teacher with 18 years’ experience. This month, she followed in the footsteps of thousands of other talented, fed-up teachers and moved abroad – in her case, to St George’s British International School in Rome. “It wasn’t a difficult decision. My job in England took over my life. Over the past year, I had stopped laughing and smiling. I had lost all sense of who I am.” Despite…

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Why are teachers miserable? Because they’re being held at gunpoint for meaningless data | Jeremy Hannay | Education

Everyone seems to be dancing around the elephant in the room. Jeremy Corbyn is talking about scrapping Sats. The DfE is on the workload warpath. Ofsted is myth-busting itself out of the dark ages into the 21st century, saying it doesn’t care about marking any more. Almost a third of teachers quit in the first five years, and those who stay are burning out in record numbers. Let me clear up this edu-mess for you. It’s not Sats. It’s not…

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Parents, can you spot a ‘toxic’ school? A headteacher writes … | Education

The banners are up, the adverts are in local newspapers. No sooner has the autumn term begun than schools are recruiting the next cohort of students. If it sometimes seems that they all say the same things about their engaging curriculum, personalised pastoral care and professional ethos, how can you tell them apart? For some parents, it’s all about outcomes. Which school tops the league table for results? Which has been judged by Ofsted as outstanding? For others, it’s more…

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25% of teachers in England work more than 60 hours a week – study | Education

A quarter of teachers in England work more than 60 hours a week, far in excess of their counterparts elsewhere in the world, research reveals. The study by the UCL Institute of Education said that five years of government initiatives to reduce excessive workload, introduced by three different education secretaries, have done nothing to cut the total number of hours worked by teachers which have remained high for two decades. Researchers found that teachers in England work 47 hours a…

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Fewer teachers but more pupils: the reality for secondary schools | Education

Secondary school pupils in England are experiencing more crowded classrooms and fewer teachers, according to Department for Education data which revealed teachers continuing to leave the profession in droves last year. The department’s own school workforce census, taken at the start of the academic year, showed a fall in the number of teachers in secondary schools alongside an increase in numbers of pupils. While the overall proportion of teachers leaving the profession – 42,000, or 9.8% – was lower than…

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