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

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.  


Teacher conundrums

As a teacher, I once taught a boy called Jay*.

Jay was lovely; a 5 year-old bundle of energy who lit up our classroom.

He was also a flipping nightmare to get work out of.

If I sat beside him he could get on.

If I moved to the table next to his, his work slowed dramatically.

If I went to the other side of the classroom, he might as well have stayed at home.

This wasn’t naughtiness though.

Jay’s additional needs meant he needed regular reminders of what we were learning and the work he had to do.

If you’re a teacher then you’ll know Jay; you’ve taught him many times too.

You’ll also know that Jay is not alone.  Many children need our supportive prompts and quiet re-teaching of key learning.

Of course, children like Jay make up only a fraction of the classes we teach.

The reality is that for every child to reach their potential, their learning needs must be met too.

It might be for consolidation.

At times it will be for extension.

Occasionally it’s because they’ve just come back from the dentist and have no idea what’s going on.

These are challenges of personalisation and connection.

For every child to make the progress of which they are truly capable, they need their teacher sat next to them, guiding and pushing their learning in every moment of every lesson.

I left education and founded a company because I could see that technology, if it were designed to enhance the way that teachers teach, could deliver this level of personalisation and connection.

I could also see that there was a desperate need to bring schools together, to share knowledge and expertise across phases and sectors.

I left education to take what I’d learned and build it into a platform that enabled teachers to give teaching the reach their learners need.

In doing so, we’ve built a uniquely powerful teaching community that is working together, including everyone and reducing workload too

The teachers we work with often refer to their ability to be teaching in multiple ways and multiple places as amazing and the impact as revolutionary.

It allows them to support, guide and extend their learners wherever they are; next to them, on the next table or lately, at home.

YouTeachMe doesn’t solve a pandemic-driven remote learning problem; it solves a much bigger problem, one that’s always existed in classrooms, that the pandemic has simply exposed.

Mr Paul Rose (previously a teacher)

*not his real name

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