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Education Talking Points, Easter 2017

At The School Planner Company, we enjoy the opportunity to discuss what’s going on in the world – and that, of course, includes education. Every day we come across news stories, features, and blog posts that entertain and inform us; we thought it was about time we began sharing some of the stories and posts that have made the most impact in the SPC office.

Destination denied?
There isn’t a teacher nor parent that doesn’t have an interest in the story of Jon Platt, the parent who refused to pay a fine for taking his daughter out of school during term time to go on a holiday abroad. It’s a divisive topic as, perhaps understandably, the difference in opinion lies between the value of education balanced with the often extremely elevated costs of taking a family holiday during school breaks. The Guardian is, at the time of writing, open to comments and will no doubt provoke further thoughtful commentary.

A reminder that self-care is vital
Rather than decreasing with time and developing technology, the stress that teachers feel seems to be perpetually rising. Pressures around outcomes and attainment continue to lengthen working days, and the result is burnt-out teachers who are clamouring for extra hours in the day. This short (and not time consuming) blog by Jack Gulston reminds teachers that nurturing begins with themselves.

Do you have a duvet day?
This news item from the BBC is an apt follow on from the previous article. A Lincolnshire school, in an effort to retain talented teachers, offers staff an extra day of holiday per year, dubbing it a ‘duvet day’ – or a day of absence that can be approved without a reason. The headteacher in question defends his decision in the face of criticism, arguing that incentives are key to attracting and retaining talented and motivated teachers. We know we’re not teachers, but we can’t imagine many employees turning down a duvet day!

Financial inequality and sporting chances
In another thoughtful blog, Schools Week editor Laura McInerney examines the fundamental wrongs in asking students’ parents to pay for access to school sports activities, setting it against the frame of disabled children being excluded from achieving greatness in sports. Her view is that both are ludicrous and unfair, but it is the responsibility of politicians to ensure that schools are not placed in the position where they are so hard up they have to ask for such payments.

Reading aloud and the more intricate aspects of literacy
David Didau’s blog is a firm favourite in the office thanks to his insightful and timely posts skewed towards listening to, working with, and practically supporting teachers in an increasingly challenging climate. In the slideshow shown in this post, Didau has outline the intricacies of reading and literacy as a follow-up to studies around asking students to ‘read along’ in class. Reading along silently as text was read out, usually by another student, is something we have all experienced, so it’s fascinating to see evidence that supports other, more complex ways of approaching literacy and language competency.  

Apostrophe catastrophe? Not if he can help it…
Of course a round-up wouldn’t be classified as such without a story that touches on the lighter side of life. Twitter was in full-on buzz mode earlier this week when the story of Bristol’s ‘Grammar Vigilante’ hit the news with an accompanying video segment that was Hitchcock-like in its dramatic presentation. Watching a disgruntled civilian make subtle changes to shop signs in the name of grammatical justice delighted many of us, and it certainly got people talking about apostrophe use.

Over to you
What news stories, blogs, and features got you talking this week? Is this something you’d like to see SPC do regularly? Let us know what you think in the comments below!