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Thinking ahead to August...

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by grayst, May 14, 2020.

  1. grayst

    grayst New commenter

    Just want to try this on you:

    From everything I read, it seems that when the Great Return happens it will be on a "staggered", half-class basis to allow some sort of greater distancing (though I bet the 2 m rule is fudged).

    For secondaries, I can only see that as being on a week-on, week-off basis. Day-on, day-off founders on the odd number of weekdays and interactions with the secondary timetable.

    I see EIS' Larry Flanagan has again been touting the idea of putting the current S4 on "half speed" and doing their courses over two years. I don't think this is thought through - if done just for S4 there will be a pile-up in three years when the current S4 becomes "S7". Who teaches them and which rooms are they in? Also, I don't see why this wouldn't also apply to the current S5 and 6, in which case the pile-up would start next year.

    So that leaves just bashing on regardless, with half a class in one week and the other half the next.

    The obvious solution is to hire a bunch of extra teachers to remotely teach the ones at home while we deal with the ones in school. OK, you can all stop laughing and get up off the floor.

    So how would is it going to work?

    Say in week 1 I have half-classes "A" in front of me and half-classes "B" sitting at home doing work set by me. What sort of work will that be?

    "Read these notes, watch these videos, go to these websites, do these questions (on Forms / Sheets / Isaac / whatever), send some pics of workings for me to look over, any questions post them on Teams or email me if you don't want the entire class to see."

    There can't be much of a "live" element to it since I've now done enough live audio / screenshare class calls to know that these definitely count as class contact time, whether it's to one student or 33. It's a chunk out of your life, you can't do anything else in that time, you have to focus and prepare. So if I've already done 22.5 hours in school teaching the "A" half classes, I'm not going to be doing any more live teaching to the "B" half classes at home.

    So it looks like the kids would be getting 50% of their teaching via an impersonal, remote, text-based route. I've done enough bi- and tri-course "flipped" teaching to know this can be made to work, but not very well. It's OK (being generous) for the bright, motivated and well-supported at home, but not for many others. And it's hugely draining for the teacher.

    Feeling a bit bleak about it.

    Let me know if you think I've got this wrong or missed something.
    bigjimmy2 and GuessWho like this.
  2. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    Sacrifices will have to be made by all. I would be quite happy to make some health sacrifices, but none, absolutely none to the endangerment of life.
    Corvuscorax and sicilypat like this.
  3. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    1. We had a system where they used to be on "half speed". it was called Standard Grade and it worked fairly well and there were exams for kids of all levels of ability, unlike the current exclusive set up. But we binned it in favour of another two term dash so we could reduce the number of exams sat (saving money) and bunged everyone in to a crazy new set up called BGE which could be taught by any halfwit.

    2. A two year approach will just increase bi-level classes/courses as those not clever enough to do Higher will still be in the same class. No thanks Larry.

    I think you're right. On the tube and the bus you'll need a mask; in the supermarket you need to be 2m away but by some mysterious scientific advance, the virus will not spread within schools and we'll be told to get on with making the capitalist system work so we Jimmy's dad can go back to working in the call centre or the bank. We're expendable.
    MilkyBar Kid and inthered like this.
  4. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    It is simple arithmetic. A class now has to be halved in size, requiring two rooms.

    You can teach one half face-to-face, the other half can attend virtually, either at home or in the room next door or in a room nominated by the council.

    Or you can hire many more teachers and teach each half face-to-face in a room designated by the council.

    You would think that someone somewhere in the government must have realised this. Exams in 2021 will need to be altered. SQA should probably see this but it as they can barely find their own @r5e5 with both hands it is unlikely that any plan or statement will be had from them until MArch 2021 and even then it will be all down to teacher assessment.
    bigjimmy2 likes this.
  5. pipryan

    pipryan New commenter

    Whist I was in school the girl’s grammar school in our town burned down, so the boys school had to accommodate them. We went to school 8 till 12 and the girls 12 till 4. Surprisingly it worked well – teachers and pupils liked it and end of year and exam results were not much affected. There were twice as many teachers of course!
    sicilypat and bigjimmy2 like this.
  6. MilkyBar Kid

    MilkyBar Kid Occasional commenter

    It would seem that split school/distance(home) learning will be the model adopted by most LAs in Scotland. Some LAs in remote areas struggle to recruit supply so there is no chance of them recruiting subject specialists on a temporary basis to teach additional classes.

    The Denmark model which everyone appears besotted with, the 'bubble', only applies to Primary aged pupils so is not relevant to secondary. You cannot keep a group of 12-15 secondary pupils in the same classroom with the same teacher all day. I think it's important to note that approval from the teaching unions in Denmark was central to the initial plans for re-opening, something our own governments should learn from.

    Most European countries that have re-opened secondaries, e.g. Germany/Netherlands, have simply stuck with the usual timetable but with reduced numbers of pupils attending on either alternate days or weeks. In the Netherlands older and more vulnerable teachers do not need to attend school, however how you define old or vulnerable may be another question.

    Some LAs only have 6 weeks left of this term, NS needs to get off the fence and announce pronto that schools will not be re-opening until August giving them the remainder of this term to work out plans for the re-opening, we should not be doing this over the summer.
    Effinbankers and bigjimmy2 like this.
  7. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    I taught in the Highlands 2 years ago. We delivered many computing courses online to many schools. Otherwise , the schools would have had no computing. We got good results too.
    I see no reason why the same model cannot be used for most courses for schools in remote areas.. Of course practical courses are difficult to do online.
    sicilypat likes this.
  8. grayst

    grayst New commenter

    Not usually a Record reader but they were first with this story:


    So it appears the answer to the question “who is developing the consistent, high quality resources promised by Swinney in his earlier statement?” is “You are – in June.”

    11 August is a Tuesday. Previously the start of term was Wednesday 19th. 7 extra teaching days.

    Larry Flanagan is on this Recovery Committee so presumably he’s been reminding them of certain key facts, i.e.

    • 190 teaching days
    • 22.5 contact hours a week
    • Any sort of “live” audio or video interaction counts as contact time
    If I’ve spent 22.5 hours with real half-classes in front of me then I won’t have any time for any live “blended” stuff, I will just be sending emails or Teams posts.

    (Actually I would be prepared to do more, but it would have to be overtime and paid as such.)

    Oh well, popcorn at the ready for Thursday.
    bigjimmy2 likes this.
  9. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    We won't be back in before the agreed start date for your authority. Which union is going to say to its members please go back to work earlier than you need to during a pandemic? None of them

    Also there will be no need for teachers to go back into school in June. We've been working at home and since large staff meetings will be impossible, there will be no point in this whatsoever. Some staff may go in so photocopying is done over the summer by support staff, but apart form that there is no need for all us to return until safe to do so.
    sicilypat, micgbanks and bigjimmy2 like this.
  10. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    A few points.

    1) A fortnight "to prepare for a new system of 'blended' learning"? It will be less than that because nothing is known about ANY of the conditions under which schools will re-open. It will be no prep at all cos it's being made up as we go along.

    2) Shades of the introduction of CfE here. Remember we were repeatedly told that everything would be alright. Yeah sure, everything is gonna be alright if you're smoking a Bob Marley-sized spliff. And CfE was alright in the end, wasn't it?

    3) A blueprint is being put together by John Swinney and "experts". I literally smiled when I read that bit. Swinney screwed up his time as leader of the SNP and he's doing his damnest to repeat that as Education Secretary.

    4) Remember, implementation of this blueprint will be nothing but a resounding success: again, shades of CfE here.

    5) Interesting that the size of the school estate is going to be expanded. Under PFI we had tons of new schools built to the minimum size (got your own classroom, do you?) and to the minimum standards (would you pay for that double glazing in your own home, for example?). We should all invest in Portakabin shares because they will be the least expensive option, in the short term at least.
    MilkyBar Kid and micgbanks like this.
  11. grayst

    grayst New commenter

    Yep, it's been pointed out to me elsewhere that the 11 August date probably applies to Glasgow and environs, that was their start date anyway. Edinburgh et al will be the following week.
  12. Catherine25

    Catherine25 New commenter

    I said a while ago on another thread- this is about to get messy. I stand by that, its going to be very messy. I just hope the unions and teachers dont get pushed over here.
    bigjimmy2 likes this.
  13. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    Couldn't agree more. I've been saying the same.
  14. JPM1967

    JPM1967 New commenter

    Is there a possibility they'll cut their losses, close all schools (i.e. online learning) a week or so earlier than planned in June and expect us to go back a week early in August?
  15. JPM1967

    JPM1967 New commenter

    Just heard a contributor on Radio Scotland saying the school holidays should be brought forward to 1st June and schools should go back mid-July because "no one will have a problem with that!"
  16. MilkyBar Kid

    MilkyBar Kid Occasional commenter

    Any changes to the current 190 day teaching arrangements would require new legislation, I can't believe the unions are not all over this. I suspect the early Aug start, if it happens, would only be for transition pupils, or P1 and S1. NS likes the idea of an early return to put some pressure on BJ, who says politics has no place in a pandemic!
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  17. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    Of course they won't! This year teachers have had another few months holidays over and above the three months they already have off every year! No problemo!

    Don't you just love the public? The lovely, ignorant public?
    sicilypat and JPM1967 like this.
  18. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    No, there is no possibility. Holidays and school closure periods are fixed.
  19. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    I'm retired now but I hope that whatever plan the Scottish government comes up is fair and clear. The headlines regarding teachers down south are so vile at the moment,I truly hope Scotland does better. The bar is set low,NS just have to do better than BJ.
    sicilypat likes this.
  20. grayst

    grayst New commenter

    Portakabin. Subsidiary of Shepherd Building Group. Privately held, family owned, no shares to buy. Dammit.
    bigjimmy2 likes this.

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