Thursday, 11 December 2014

"The Scrooge Academy for Focused Learners"

I remember a time... not so long ago... when schools were a great place to work in on the run up to Christmas.  There were concerts, carol services, canteen Christmas dinners that always over-run into the last lessons of the day and plenty of real festive anticipation.  The younger pupils enjoyed festive-themed lessons while every classroom had cards, handmade paper chains and snowflakes on the windows (frequently badly cut from A4 lined paper).

In the staff briefing on Tuesday morning we were told "Absolutely no festive activity until the last day of term..... and THEN it has to have a real learning content."  My poor Year 7s, who have still got echoes of a primary Christmas in their heads, are completely bewildered.  "Own clothes for the last day... absolutely not! The pupils don't bring the right equipment if they leave their blazers behind."  End of term special assemblies.... oh no!  There's a rewards assembly next week... but that happens every term.

In the meanwhile, my Year 11s are in melt-down.  They had the first bout of mocks three weeks ago.  We are currently cramming in practical and language exams and they come back to a second bout of mocks immediately after Christmas.  I work in a school of almost 1300 pupils.  On Monday over 140 were absent with illness, with Year 11 being the worst hit.

This evening I had a 'teaching and learning' meeting with my Line Manager.  She wanted to talk about learning audits and work trawls.  Currently I'm running the department on my own.  To keep her sweet I spent an hour auditing my own Key Stage 4 marking and have provided the usual detailed paperwork to prove it.  The place has gone mad!

Sometimes July seems a long way away...........................!


  1. Gosh Jan, that does seem incredibly miserable; it's so very different to our generation isn't it?
    I'm absolutely convinced that I had a lucky escape when I decided not to undertake my final teaching placement.

  2. Sounds rather drear to me. I remember the excitement of schooldays...making paper snowflakes, Christmas cards, chains, listening to carols, playing Christmas games, etc all in the weeks before Christmas. We even had a Nativity. The world has changed for children. I hope that they grow up to be happy people.
    Hang in there....I feel your frustration.

  3. That sounds dreadful... I thought my new school were bad as the head doesn't do a Christmas Panto trip - nothing 'frivolous' is allowed at my school - but they do at least get a christmas party!

  4. It sounds like the Grinch has invaded the head teachers body! No spirit of Christmas. There is a lot of pressure placed on teachers these days. I hope the break over Christmas gives you the energy to continue. I'm counting down the months too!

  5. Did the admin give a reason for no festivities? I taught 10 & 11 and there were no festivities for that age either. We had final exams the last day of each term so their last week before Christmas was studying and exams.

  6. Unfortunately I think the world has finally gone mad. What happened to the magic of Christmas for kids whether big or small. Even year 11's resort to being back at year 4 when it comes to Christmas don;t they. It does seem a shame more and more everything gets dummed down in fear of offending someone. Take me back to my time machine I want to go back to my childhood please.....

  7. Probably not one single decorated Christmas tree in the entire school--right? Childhood and school years are so fleeting, why spoil it for the kiddos. It's not like WWIII is going on and we have to be austere! I don't like what is going on nowadays, but....still lucky to live in an area where we have a Christmas tree in every classroom in the lower grades and the kids get to have their Christmas party and many still take a fun day to string popcorn and cranberries for the tree and make paper chains and snowflakes to decorate their class rooms.

  8. I have to audit myself in our work scrutinies too- it's so dumb! I find it really hard to scrutinize music, particularly as I do very little written work in the primary sector! Ha, we've had LOADS of Christmas-themed stuff- sorry about that! Today, I taught my Year 6's to play Silent Night and O Little Town of Bethlehem on the metallophones/xylophones and glocks- great fun! x