Hey Daydreamer

How do you know if the children you are teaching are paying attention?

Teachers and parents of the UK 🇬🇧 rejoice your children are going back to school. But after such a long time out, how much of a attention span will they have and can teachers adapt their delivery to respond?

Legoland, Windsor has a car park at the top and the attractions at the bottom of a rather steep hill. Each year my family joke about being ‘Lego fit’. In March we struggle to walk up the hill after a busy day, by October we are running up. Same people, same hill, but what has changed? The difference is that we are able to build up our stamina during each visit until we can conquer our goals. It’s the same in the classroom, our more attentive students will be ready to sit through five one hour lessons a day, but what of those who are used to turning the camera off and going for a snack or a snooze during an online lesson? I can guarantee they will not be ‘Lego fit’.

The hill at Legoland Windsor resort is brutal

The skills of focusing and paying attention are critical to student learning. According to Piontkowski et al. [40], “Educators often talk about attention as a general mental state in which the mind focuses on some special feature of the environment. As such, attention is considered essential for learning. It is hard to believe that the student who disregards instruction will benefit from it. Thus, the teacher needs reliable signs of the student’s state of attention.”

It is challenging, however, for teachers to spot signs of student attention in large classrooms with so many students.

But as we have seen, additional challenges arise in online classrooms, which often limit teachers to watching students’ body language in video feeds, where they cannot see, for example, distractions in the students’ environment. Harder still when the camera is turned off, often due to over zealous safeguarding leads rather than a students wish not to be seen.

An area of real interest is the study on how biometrics and machine learning approaches can help teachers evaluate their students’ level of attentiveness in both physical and online classrooms and introduce appropriate interventions to improve learning outcomes.

It is worth checking the research on this. Although the field of automated attention tracking research is steadily amassing new publications, no survey works have charted the progress of research or encouraged new research. An open opportunity to explore a key area which affects pupil progress.

By focusing on key behaviors such as eye gazes, body movements or social interactions, it is possible for a teacher to measure the level of engagement in their lessons and tailor their delivery accordingly. The next few weeks will be a challenge as we all adapt to a different dynamic within our classrooms.

The Great Covid Dilemma

To open schools for Face to face teaching or to move to remote teaching?

Photo by Max Fischer on Pexels.com

The great moral dilemma of our time: Don’t forget the underlying narrative that, despite the trash talk from the Daily Mail, schools are NOT closing, those in London are moving from face to face learning to online learning except for exam classes and vulnerable students. From a teachers perspective online teaching is a pain in the backside and we would want to avoid that as far as possible.

So the options available to school leaders are either face to face teaching or remote teaching, which one is more preferable?

A) Face to Face teaching

  • Education is very important and with public examinations due in the summer, time cannot be lost. Students will fall behind and will be unable to compete in the future.
  • The mental health and well being of students will be adversely affected. Children need interaction with their peers to sustain personal development. Already there are reports of a four fold increase in eating disorders amongst children.
  • Without schools being open, the economy grinds to a halt. Instead of working, parents are having to entertain their children or monitor their online lessons. In some cases parents are having to lend their child(ren) their laptop preventing them from doing any of their own work.

B) Remote Teaching

  • Covid infections are rising rapidly and the new strain is as the Government states out of control.
  • Transmission in children is low, but the real threat of 30+ bubbles taking the disease back to their families, some of whom are vulnerable is very high and with ICU units reaching capacity can the risk be taken?
  • A lack of PPE for school staff in small poorly ventilated rooms

From my own perspective, I think schools should be open for face to face lessons, but there are a number of caveats within this. Firstly is it safe for the school to open? Are the teaching areas suitably large enough and/or are there enough staff in school to be able to facilitate this? Secondly, the Government should prioritise school staff in the vaccination programme, whilst it does not solve the problem of transmission to family members of the students, it does enable an extra layer of protection for those on the front line who do not have the PPE protection of other frontline workers.

Photo by Gantas Vaiu010diulu0117nas on Pexels.com

All in all, this is a very avoidable situation, we have known that the winter months would bring further challenges and it doesn’t take ‘Mystic Meg’ to understand that the virus would be more prevalent in these winter conditions.

That there are no contingency plans in place from the Department for Education shows a real lack of leadership from themselves or the Education Minister Gavin Williamson MP. It is very simple in the case of scenario (A) we will deploy policy (X), for (B) we will deploy (Y) and so on, all it took was some organisation and foresight which appears to be lacking in our political leaders.

There are plenty of opportunities for taking teaching outside of the classroom perhaps now presents a perfect opportunity for the profession to move into the 21st century? In the meantime, I wish everyone the best of luck in and out of schools in the next few days and weeks, it will be a bumpy road, but hopefully we will see each other on the other side. Good luck.

Student Led Inquiry

Erm Sir What am I Learning today?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

You know that moment when you’re sitting in class and you’re thinking “what exactly am I supposed to be learning today and why am I here?”  Think of the feelings that brings up.  Frustration?  Annoyance?  At that moment, are you ready for learning? This must happen daily to most children, but by utilising the research of Hattie we can change the way learning happens.

My main aim in tutoring is to explore topics using learning enquiries, keeping a clear focus on an exam question with older students or a directed part of a syllabus with younger students. In the past, this is something that the teachers did to direct their teaching.  However, this time, we had the kids discover the standards themselves and they develop their own learning targets. The students therefore develop their own learning pathway, based on a clear understanding of the process and the direction of travel.

Here’s an example of how the process could be developed.

1. I posted an enquiry question and simply allowed the student to tell us what they thought it meant.  Bringing in several different sources of information we were able together to scaffold some information leading us towards the enquiry, shaping towards able an answer. For example “to what extent did rats and rebels shape England?”.

2. It is essential to link this basic knowledge to something tangible like an exam or essay question. It surprised me that the students had never broken down a standard before so we modelled how to do it with the first learning target.  The students decided that even before they started integrating the text, they had to annotate the first set of sources to understand it at a deeper level. Thus, our first learning target: I can take notes while reading to get a deeper understanding of the text. Cornell note taking is a really key ingredient here as it helps to organise information and develop deeper understanding.

3. Based on the feedback from the first exercise, they decided what the next learning targets were.  This was where the ownership in learning began.  This is when the path of learning was revealed.

Some of the discussions the students initiated at this point were:

  • How do I comprehend a text?  Will I need to determine importance?
  • What graphic organizer should I use?  Is there more than one I could use?
  • What about the text structure of the passage?
  • How do I effectively take notes?
  • How do I show that I really know something well?
  • How exactly do you integrate two or more texts? Find a theme, a topic, etc?

4.  A Student having ownership over the success criteria and being able to analyse this is very powerful in laying out the direction of learning.  I always use model answers to questions as the most powerful learning tool, these aren’t necessarily perfect answers either as it is important that students see weak responses too. Same process though reviewing their own or their partners work, with highlighters or the highlighting function on the computer they take ownership of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each answer.

Highly effective teaching is tough.  Deep learning is even tougher.   What we have to do in education is work smarter, not harder so that our students can be self-directed learners.   Having kids unwrap the standard and develop the learning targets opened the doors to learning. These students now know where they’re going and they are guiding themselves.  They’re on the path to learning, not just sitting in a classroom listening to a teacher.

The most amazing parts of this process was the deep discussions students led and took part in and the fact that they can very specifically describe where their learning is about to go.

Running this process by a PGCSE student in school, the question that he posed is a valid one: How do I make time for this when I have so much to teach?  The answer is “How can you not?”  This process will make the teaching and learning more productive because the students developed the path for learning and they know what they’re working towards.   As opposed to that frustrated and annoyance feeling we’ve all felt when we have no idea what we’re supposed to be learning. If you doubt this, refer to number 9 and 10 on this site of John Hattie’s work, which is a meta-analysis of over 50,000 studies.  It works.

Coping with ADHD Super Powers

“Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, then it is going to go through its whole life thinking it is stupid”

Albert Einstein

Wednesday is my favourite day, I look forward each week to the time I can spend with a Year 6 pupil, who as his Mother says has a very special superpower, ADHD. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviours (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active. This can be quite intimidating to a new teacher or tutor who has set ideas about how children behave and react in different situations. However, every child is different with varying needs and ADHD children are no different, there are some very easy strategies which can be deployed to maximise your time with them and help them to enjoy learning again.

  • Predictable routines are very important, the child and I both know that the tutoring session is at 4pm on a Wednesday afternoon, after he has finished school and had the opportunity for some down time. I cannot afford to be late for this as anxiety and stress will start to manifest itself and will make the session far less productive.
  • The learning environment needs to be uncluttered, we have a perfect space in their kitchen with a work station with a computer and room for written activities, this allows me to transition between activities quickly and minimises the wait time.
  • Short sharp activities and structured transitions are essential, my 5-minute sand timer is an excellent support or a countdown clock also works, although there is no need to be quite limited by time, if an activity is going well, just keep going as there is no need to transition just for the sake of it. If this means you do not finish all of your activities, then so be it.
  • Children with ADHD can have motivational issues, they figure they can use their disability as an excuse for not doing work, the child and the parents know that I have zero tolerance for this, particularly as I know how talented they really are. Clear parameters in terms of expectations are critical, as with boys in general stick to the old mantra, be firm, fair and consistent.
  • Set up buddy pairs – I have been lucky in that my son has been available to support me, same age and with good organisation and study skills, this gives my student the opportunity to be mentored in good habits.
  • Build movement breaks into the routine, last week halfway through the session we played some cricket wth the scores jotted down in Roman numerals and the totals added up, this kept his concentration and enabled us to learn proactively.
  • Where outside learning is not possible it is important to set short, achievable targets and activities. Mind maps are a essential tool here allowing links between topics and also is an essential memory tool.
  • All students learn better when the activities are more hands on, using play dough is a good tip, particularly when creating rewards, allow the student to use the play dough to manipulate the shape into something creative.
  • Essentially variety is the spice of life, creating activities which both motivate and inspire, building on likes and dislikes. My student is sport mad and it helps I am their cricket and rugby coach so I try to relate as much of that as I can into the various activities. This allows an engagement beyond normal teaching.

There are huge challenges when tutoring a student with any kind of special educational need or disability (SEND), especially with ADHD in this case. With public examinations fast approaching understanding that individual and developing skills will reap huge benefits.

I am delighted that the parent of this student has supplied the following testimonial, proving that the hard work is most certainly paying off.

“Richard has just started tutoring our 10 yr old boy who is year 6 and has a super power – ADHD. We were very nervous as parents when the first session took place as anyone with a child with ADHD would know that they have a very short attention span. Once we could see how Richard was very engaging and personable with our child but kept tasks short, clear and concise, Richard was able to hold his attention the whole time during their sessions and they have loads of fun learning about various topics. 
Our child is always excited to see Richard as he can’t wait to see and learn what they will do for their session.  
Finding Richard has been a dream come true as a parent, as it has been very hard to find someone like Richard with a wealth of teaching experience but someone who tunes into kids and their super powers!”

Black History Month

A Celebration of Black History

“and what of history are they going to be taught factual history or progressive woke history, as to be politically correct to protect the snowflakes and and all the other bleeding heart loves of our society as not to offend them”. So roared a comment on my Facebook page as one red faced, angry, middle aged white male took to his keyboard to blame me for the current social movements which challenge traditional thinking, such as Black Lives Matter.

And yet, he has a fair point, historical interpretation is all about how we all describe, analyse, evaluate and try to create an explanation of past events. Students of history have the opportunity to look through the evidence, which may include written sources, verbal accounts, points of view and visual primary or secondary sources and then reach an evaluation based on the facts and their own interpretation of these facts. However, it is how these facts are presented that can cause misinterpretation.

October is ‘Black History Month’ a highlight in the History teacher’s diary as it presents an chance to teach a counter narrative to traditional thinking, is this a woke approach? no of course not, it is a chance for all members of society to re-evaluate the facts and perhaps come to different conclusions. It is also a chance to celebrate those people who made a series impact on the lives of others, Mary Seacole, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King to name just a few.

Mary Seacole 1805-1881 We have all heard of Florence Nightingale, yet few have heard of Mary Seacole. Mary Seacole rose to prominence during the Crimean War when she funded her own journey to Turkey after British authorities refused her offers of help. There she opened a hospital, and became a popular figure in Britain, receiving various awards for bravery. The Mary Seacole Trust has been created to highlight Mary’s work.

Rosa Parks 1913-2005 Her story is interesting as it was completely accidental.Parks’s refusal to give up her seat on an Alabama bus in 1955 became a symbolic moment in the American civil rights movement. The fallout launched Martin Luther King Jr to fame. The incident sparked a mass boycott of the transport system by the black community.

Trevor McDonald – Journalist, born 1939 
A familiar face on our TV screens, The first black news anchor in the UK, Trinidad-born McDonald is one of the most popular figures on TV. Starting his career on the BBC World Service, in 1999 he was given the Bafta Richard Dimbleby Award for Outstanding Contribution to Television.

Maya Angelou – Author, poet, playwright, born 1928 
Missouri has always been a hotbed of talent, she was a great voice of black literature. Angelou’s memoirs expose the difficulties of growing up as a black woman in St Louis. Her achievements are many and varied, and she was the first African-American woman admitted to the Directors Guild of America.

Kofi Annan – Diplomat, born 1938 
Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations. His role in working for global peace was recognised when he and the UN were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. He helped to reform the UN and strengthen its peacekeeping abilities.

Lewis Howard Latimer – Inventor, 1848-1928 
History does not record the work of black inventors and yet there are scores of examples, the most famous perhaps is this son of escaped slaves, Latimer is considered one of the greatest black inventors, notably due to his improvement of carbon filaments in light bulbs. He worked with Thomas Edison and Alexander Bell and secured many different patents.

Jesse Owens – Athlete, 1913-80 
If there was an individual who was born to re-write a narrative then Owens is the perfect example. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Owens defied Nazi propaganda and won four gold medals on the track. When he died, the US President Jimmy Carter said: “Perhaps no athlete better symbolised the human struggle against tyranny, poverty and racial bigotry.”

Martin Luther King – Civil rights activist, 1929-68 
The figurehead of the American Civil Rights Movement, King became a national hero after leading the successful Montgomery bus boycott. In 1964 he received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his work. He was assassinated on 4 April 1968

Nelson Mandela – Political activist, born 1918 
A key anti-apartheid figure in South Africa, Mandela spent 27 years in prison for the cause. After his release, he became the country’s first fully democratically elected president and leader of the African National Congress. In 1993 he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Pelé – Footballer, born 1940 
Growing up he was one of my heroes, christened Edson Arantes do Nascimento Pelé, he is regarded as the world’s greatest footballer. Playing for his native Brazil, Pelé won the World Cup three times. In 1999 the BBC named him the second greatest sportsperson of the millennium.

Haile Selassie – World leader, 1892-1975 
Researching the Italian invasion of Abyssinia in 1935 I was astonished by the leadership of Haile Selassie, not to be confused with the marathon runner. Accepted by Rastafarians as a symbol of God incarnate, the former emperor of Ethiopia became a worldwide anti-Fascist figure after appealing to the United Nations for help against Mussolini’s invading armies. An ally of the west and opponent of colonisation.

Oprah Winfrey – Media tycoon, born 1954 
A living American institution, she is seen by some as the most influential woman in the world. At the centre of her various projects is her TV chat show which is syndicated around the world. In 2006 Winfrey became the world’s first black woman billionaire.

The effects of the slave trade are always going to cause huge arguments on both sides, along with the apartheid movement in South Africa and the civil rights movement in the USA. What cannot be denied though is that these events occurred and it is how we learn from history to correct perceived injustice and build a more tolerant and inclusive society. it should not be black history month, but a year round celebration of how people have contributed to society regardless of their background. History is continually evolving and new interpretations are continually developed, this is why it is the greatest subject on the curriculum.

SEND Education in a Pandemic

The Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (IPSEA) have updated their advice on how the Covid-19 measures will affect pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and it makes for quite interesting reading, with valuable advice for parents and schools alike

The headlines re-iterate that whilst schools have been issued with fresh advice for the re-opening schools actually the advice for SEND pupils remains as per the SEN and Disability Code of Practice 2015 and any changes in internal behaviour policies have to comply with the 2010 Equality Act, so far no changes.

However where the complications arise for both staff and students is the advice given for those of you like me, who were shielding during the first wave of the pandemic. The official advice from Government is that the 1996 Education Act still applies, in that regular attendance is expected, however a minor caveat that any students who are unable to attend school due to public health or clinical advice will not be penalised. However it is critical to add that Doctors advice is important here as the general expectation is that even for the most vulnerable currently school attendance is expected. It is unclear in the guidance as to the expectations if a family member or someone in the household are shielding themselves. IPSEA advice is that settings should authorise absence, but this is not in the Government guidance.

IPSEA advice continues “Where pupils need to self-isolate, or there is a local lockdown requiring pupils to remain at home, the school will offer immediate, high-quality remote education and will have planned for what this will be.  Schools will need to offer paper materials where access to online learning is not available. For pupils with SEND, the guidance states that schools should work with parents where the pupil can’t access learning without adult support to develop “a broad and ambitious curriculum”.  Therefore, schools might need to think of bespoke and creative ways to support children with SEND remotely. The duty to secure the provision in the EHC plan under s.42 Children & Families Act 2014 continues under the tier system.” 

The issue with all of this is of course in relation to the catch up process. Children have missed approximately 6 months of school with the impact of this not really known. For pupils with SEND we expect this will be even more keenly felt. The National Tutoring Programme has been set up by the Department for Education and Castle Tutoring have made ourselves available to schools to support this as either an Academic Mentor for subject specific tuition or as a Tuition Partner for face to face, online or combination teaching. For pupils with SEND it is blatantly obvious that there will be a need for extra provision to support and in this instance extra EHC support may be required as per the CAFA 214 process.

IPSEA advice suggests that for those with an Educational Healthcare Plan (EHC), there are two options if a child chooses to remain at home for whatever reason; elective home education or education otherwise than that in a setting. For those without an EHC in place the only option available is elective home education.

Either way there is a potential crisis, which will be exacerbated should there be a second wave and either a localised or national lockdown, my view is that in this scenario the Government will resist closing schools again until the last possible moment, but that s purely conjecture. My advice for those with SEND is to read the guidance provided by IPSEA and remember Castle Tutoring is available to help support any catch up plans or home schooling needs.

https://www.ipsea.org.uk/news/ipsea-update-on-covid-19-school-closures-and-sen-provision

Making Music in the “new normal”.

By Head of Music, Iain Ross

Thanks to Kelly Sikkema for sharing their work on Unsplash.

This is the  time of year when you reflect on the successes in results day, and what was achieved in the last academic year. From that, you start planning how you might make even more music with the resources you have, and ensuring that music stays as high on the school’s agenda as possible.  It’s very different this year. Exams were cancelled, school shows cancelled, and music rooms silenced due to the school closure. I’ve missed teaching. I’ve missed the students. I’ve missed sharing my love and passion for a subject that’s inclusive, challenging and rewarding, and seeing students flourishing and breaking down personal barriers to succeed in the subject.  I can’t wait to see them again next week. 

These are extraordinary times.  The coronavirus pandemic has presented heads of music in secondary schools with challenges that we’d thought we would never have to face – how on earth can we make music in schools in a socially distant world?  As Head of Music at a large secondary school in Slough, this has caused some considerable anxiety. It’s a nightmare. How will it be possible to teach a subject that demands so much practical pedagogy be taught under such challenging conditions?  

Allow me to indulge in some of the challenges presented by the recent government guidance released on Friday 29th August: 

  • Singing is only permitted in well-ventilated rooms with no more than 15 students socially distant at two metres. This is not possible at our school so we will not be singing at all. 
  • Musical instruments cannot be shared between bubbles. This will mean adapting long term plans so that schemes of work requiring similar equipment are taught first. 
  • No extra curricular groups with mixed year groups. 

In addition to this, our school has adopted the zones and bubbles guidance whereby teachers will go to the students, rather than the contrary under normal circumstances.  This has effectively meant that the music department is evicted from its base and become mobile.  This means that music will be taught in Science Labs, Food Tech rooms etc. How tolerant will colleagues in neighbouring classroom be of any practical work? 

We must also consider the students. Colleagues won’t know how far ‘behind’ students are until they are sat in front of us in the first lesson. Every student has had a very different experience of lockdown, with some having supportive parents with outstanding homeschooling capabilities, what others will have become disengaged with their learning, with perhaps little or no access to IT resources. This is nothing new to music departments with some students studying musical theory and instruments outside of the classroom, but this will be a completely new challenge.  “We’re all in the same storm but not in the same boat” is a fantastic quote for planning for this.  

This is without doubt the biggest challenge of my 12 years in the teaching profession. Social distancing has meant that large parts of my teaching pedagogy arsenal are null and void for he foreseeable future, so adapting to this will be a daily challenge. The instruction from senior leaders to “front load your curriculum with theory” is all well and good, but it will require a huge planning effort and a total change to teaching pedagogies. Myself and many other colleagues throughout the country are thinking how they can make music with what resources they have, whether that be with a full suite of musical instruments, or with the contents of a student’s pencil case.   

We need Music now more than ever, and I’m ready for the challenge of the new term.  I will try to be as tolerant of SLT as I can be as I know that they don’t desire this as much as I don’t. I will try and make as much music as I possibly can, with whatever I can.  It’ll be sad to not have extra curricular music this year, which means curriculum music-making becomes more important than ever. I’ll also try to take each day as it comes. It’s certainly going to be different.  Most of all though, I’m looking forward to being at the front of the class and working with young people once again, inspiring them to be the musicians they want to be.  

Teachers are very good at adapting to an ever changing world, and to what our political masters desire of us. This will be no different.  I wish all my colleagues in music department across the country the best of luck. 

Taking the high road… Out

T’was the week before term and whilst all my teacher friends and contacts are sweating over the return to school, I am feeling strangely relaxed. My suit is still in the dry cleaners, my board pens are somewhere in a box in the garage and my books are gathering dust on the shelf.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a blog about how great it is to be free from the shackles of school life, although I am not going to miss the naval gazing of results analysis spreadsheets and reports or the dull hours spent listening to someone reading out a powerpoint about the latest school priorities. This a slightly cathartic attempt to explain my story and the lessons which could be learnt for everyone in the education sector about the pathways within.

Teaching in schools is a very secure and predictable environment, in my 17 year career, I have changed jobs twice, both times I handed my notice in by the middle of May, to start a new role in September, a full 15 weeks or practically 4 months later (1/3rd of the year). Previously I worked as a buyer for two firms one educational publisher and a travel firm, leaving one job on the Friday to start a new one the following Monday in a very transient working environment. There are benefits and drawbacks to both approaches, job security of course being the main advantage, I however, always felt a bit cornered, powerless to take advantage of some of the opportunities which presented themselves. Not that in reality there were many opportunities, and perhaps they were just perceived based on my ‘grass is always greener’ approach to life, but I always felt that I needed an ‘out’.

So here I am, out! I am fairly risk averse, but teaching nine different subjects across three different key stages, travelling over 2 hours to and from work every day was taking its toll. Added to 2 months off due to extensive shoulder surgery, the death of my Father and the effects of Covid-19, for my own health and well being if not the family finances it was time to be brave. I contacted my Union and requested they initiate an exit strategy, for both parties it was definitely the right course of action. So here I am, one week away from joining seemingly everyone else in the world, unemployed.

Yet I feel completely invigorated, so here is the masterplan, it will be interesting to see how many of these are ticked off before either I head off on holiday next summer, or am evicted.

Priority number one – Pay Septembers mortgage. I have registered with plenty of agencies, digging out old certificates and applying for DBS. Supply work is the priority, to make ends meet I probably need to bring home around £120-£130 a day, a quite and frighteningly tall order. I don’t actually know if any schools will take anyone on supply in the next few weeks with all this uncertainty? I guess pupils and teachers may well be hit by the French and Spanish quarantine rules? Who knows?

Priority number two – Set up a Tutoring Company. Its a mysterious world, tutoring. I hear of all these ex-teachers who have made successful transitions into tutoring, then I find out they all teach Maths! I have no idea if this will be successful or not, but I guess now is a good time to try. I will cover my experiences of setting up a company in my next blog post, but in the meantime excitingly http://www.castletutoring.com is live.

Priority Number Three – Contact schools to offer catch up sessions. Talking of opportunities, the Government is offering schools a catch up premium of £1bn towards a National Tutoring Programme, with each secondary school receiving approximately £80k. This money is for small one to one tuition and extra teaching capacity from September.

So overall, being free from a school contract has meant that I do not have the security of a monthly guaranteed wage and the ability to organise child care on a day to day basis around our work schedules, but I do have the flexibility to take on these new challenges and take advantage of the opportunities which in this post-lockdown world have presented.

Do let me know your own experiences and how this has shaped you and your career, I’d be very keen to pick up any hints and tips.