Managing absence

Yesterday was the big ‘masks off’ day meaning no more masks required in classrooms and corridors (although some schools have overridden this). This week healthcare professionals have highlighted children are currently the biggest group in the country infected with Omicron.

So where does that leave schools?

We ran a poll on Twitter (we have a reasonably good following from school leaders and teachers across the UK) and the outcome was 53% of schools are running a staff absence rate between 10 to 30%, scarily 6% have a rate of over 50%!

Twitter Poll Results

Then we asked a local infant school leader to tell us what’s going on in her school

“It is difficult to hear the media celebrating the ‘return to normality’ when Covid continues to have a huge impact on school, not just with staff positive cases, but with absence for those staff who are not vaccinated and are required to self isolate.

Huge pressures on budgets paying for agency cover while staff are positive and/or isolating due to vaccine status just adds to the months/years of inconsistency of provision for children and uncertainty for leaders. It does not feel like we’re anywhere close to normal, yet nobody is talking about it.” Tamara Dale, Headteacher of Ridgeway Infant School, Derby.

There’s been lots of stories of child in the hall from 3 classes being taught by one teacher. Not ideal for anyone.

Ofsted have been out and about conducting inspections on schools across the country. Not ideal either.

Pupil progress is still expected.

Ensuring your pupils are meeting the ‘secure’ or ‘mastery’ grading is still a pressure on teachers across the country.

How is that achievable?

Schools are adept at navigating oceans with big waves in boats with holes. That’s before the pandemic.

Our belief at YouTeachMe is that technology should make your life easier AND achieve things thought impossible.

If we said it’s POSSIBLE for every child in that hall from three classrooms to still have personalised teaching delivered to them each day, would you believe us?

Ask Paul Rose how YouTeachMe makes the impossible possible via

Hybrid Schooling

When your teachers are ill then having them ‘work from home’ is far from ideal. So don’t do it.

Live lessons with a teacher suffering from COVID won’t be good enough for pupil progression, student engagement or embedding learning.

Hybrid schooling is set to be the norm though.

Sometimes a teacher might NOT be ill, they simply must isolate to stop the spread.

Sometimes a student will be in the same situation.

So when it’s OK for the teacher to be teaching and the learner to be learning how can you make that happen?

With YouTeachMe.

It reduces workload, it facilitates personalisation, it’s able to track what work has been completed, it’s easy for management to see what lessons are online, it’s easy to access for a student at a time that suits them, it’s easy for a teacher to bulk upload or do one video at a time.

All of the features offered by YouTeachMe have been designed with schools.

It’s not a system we think will work. It’s a tool that’s been developed into a way of teaching and learning with professionals working in a range of school settings today.

Hybrid schooling doesn’t need to be tricky for anyone.

Book a system demonstration TODAY to see who to make hybrid schooling work in your setting.

A letter to school and college leaders

“Take the time to make some sense of what you want to say

And cast your words away upon the waves”     

The Masterplan

When reading Nadhim Zahawi’s recent letter to school and college leaders, the opening lines of this classic Oasis song sprang to mind. You too can have a read by CLICKING HERE

Noel Gallagher knows, as does every teacher, that writing is a skill.  Meaning can easily become lost, so words must be chosen carefully.  

So, it made me ponder; if I was the Education Secretary, what letter would I have written?  

I think it would have been this…

Dear everyone who works in education,  

The work you have done to support your school communities during this pandemic has inspired our nation. 

Your heroic bravery and selfless devotion will be forever remembered by those you have supported, and respected by those, such as I, who have watched from afar. 

Some people think teaching is just a job, but you have shown that it’s much more than that. 

It’s a lifeline for so many and a route to a brighter future for all. Everyone at the DfE understands that this is why you’ve responded to this crisis in the way you have.   

We’ve now reached the end of the most difficult term our schools have ever faced, so I write to you today to offer my sincere thanks for everything you’ve done. 

It’s clear that we will face more challenges in the January, and so I will write to you early next year to share any revisions to the guidance. 

In the meantime, please make sure that you spend precious time with your loved ones. 

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year.  


Transporting Teachers?

Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party suggestion to pay teachers up to £3,000 more in a ‘levelling up premium’ specifically for talented maths, physics and chemistry teachers to be parachuted into parts of the country where they’re most needed got us pondering.

Is this simply the rehashing of ideas that failed over the past 10 years ago when there was the teacher Task Force?

Everybody acknowledges teachers are worth the salary he also indicated at the conference of £30,000 but that’s not what’s at play here.

There’s great swathes of the country where provision is inadequate and it’s simply impossible to recruit teachers, take some coastal towns that are well known areas of educational cold spots.

If you’re a great (talented!) maths, chemistry or physics teacher you can get a job anywhere. So the question is why would a teacher choose to work in an area far away from home or known to be a tough place to teach?

Ofsted, for a number of years, have been identifying areas where they can’t get high quality teachers. That was part of the reason for the creation of the opportunity areas we have in existence today.

We’d say obviously the idea of getting a teacher to go and work in a place that don’t want to live is fundamentally flawed Even if it became a requirement for teachers.

Or like the talk of changing teachers from professionals to civil servants because civil servants can be deployed anywhere. That never happened and could be argued shouldn’t!

The problem with all of these plans is they are short termist. Send a teacher to a deprived coastal town for two years and then they can go back to their own locality and what happens? You’re back to square one!

From our perspective quite clearly the way forwards is to build technology that enables teachers to learn from the best or to use outstanding teaching within their school to support their learners.

Just like YouTeachMe does. It’s really easy, it’s not rocket science it just needs a different way of thinking about it.

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