Schoolzone | Primary staff, on having 'gone back' to school

Primary staff, on having 'gone back' to school

Date: 08.06.2020

Our survey of 3000 school staff, at the end of the first week of re-opening to reception, Y1, Y2 and Y6 pupils last week, showed that less than 50% of pupils in those year groups were back (though 75% of staff were) and that, although only a quarter think the measures in their school are not keeping them safe, there is still a high degree of anxiety across many schools.

Emerging findings report here

Here's how they are feeling (verbatim, unexpurgated):


• A little anxious
• A little apprehensive about changes. Generally more positive than before because I will be doing more and therefore feeling more useful.
• A little apprehensive about how the measures we have in theory would be put into practice. I have enjoyed being at home all be it the pressures of the lockdown on our families. However I have kept in touch with the majority of families and feel I have an even better bond with them .
• A little stressed a week ago, but now I am back at school as part of Skeleton School I am much happier.
• Absolutely fine
• Absolutely fine
• After an initial worry and anxiousness, I feel happy being back in a routine and connecting with people. I am pleased to have a definitive home/work situation and I appreciate not being constantly online.
• Although the social aspect of lockdown has prevented me from engaging in my hobbies and from seeing a large proportion of my friends/family, I am optimistic and making the most of the time. I've returned to work to continue teaching virtually and am part of a pod of children. They aren't my normal year group, but the normality of seeing kids in school is nice.
• Always worrying what might be next or who might be next.
• Ambivalent
• An amazing amount of organisation has gone into this, but now we have started, it was worth it - it has gone very smoothly.
• angry and apprehensive
• Annoyed and frustrated at having to work from home. My colleagues are able to work at school
• Anxious (8 responses)
• Anxious - not knowing what is going to happen. Not having a routine as things keep changing. Fed up of marking work online and not being able to feedback to the children directly - although I hate seeing myself on video too!!
• Anxious about being able to manage social distancing. 44 y6s Returning meaning 11 in a class. Not an easy task and experience with educate shows that children cannot maintain social distancing.
• Anxious about coming back to work with so many children in such a small building
• Anxious about going back and torn between my responsibility at home and work.
• Anxious about going back but quite relaxed now I’m back as there isn’t as much pressure as before
• Anxious about having my year 6 class back in and adapting my plans to suit learners who are still at home
• Anxious about returning due to it being the next unknown. But my Head has protected our workload and social distance measures in school are good. Numbers are around 30% so implementing them has been easy, which has greatly relieved my anxiety
• Anxious about the changes that are happening and what it will mean going forward with C-19 and also any permanent changes to life as we know it that will continue.
• anxious about work as all of the emphasis of the re0pening has been on the children's safety and not on the staff's safety when they are more at risk
• Anxious and exhausted
• Anxious and overwhelmed.
• Anxious and powerless. Forced to work or not be paid.
• Anxious and trying to plan for the best
• Anxious and upset
• Anxious and worried how the new work life would be like.
• Anxious and worried, glad to have children back on site but concerned we could infect others however good our procedures are
• Anxious as I am medically vulnerable (but not shielding) and fear being told I must stop working from home where I feel safe.
• Anxious at having so many children back in school when the death rate is still high.
• Anxious but reasonably ok, as everyone is in the same boat
• anxious frustrated underappreciated
• Anxious Uncertain Confused Scared
• Anxious, concerned
• anxious, concerned, worried, annoyed
• Anxious, overwhelmed and exhausted. I am feeling very responsible for the health and welfare of the staff, children and families and also guilty that my own family is receiving very little support from me at a time which is also challenging on a personal level.
• Anxious, stressed, tired
• anxious, worried, confused about what is going to happen, stressed
• Apprehensive
• Apprehensive about returning. My school is very small and I worry about how effective social distancing can be. Manipulated by the Government and the school. The workload is immense and yet the media vilifies teachers as lazy and just waiting for the summer holidays.
• Apprehensive about what the new school year will look like in September. What the future in trying to teach in a SEN setting whilst adhering to new rules will be like. I attended school last week to supervise children of Key workers - was extremely nervous unsure of exactly what I should be doing.
• Apprehensive but less so than at the start in March
• Apprehensive but positive. Organised. (Work) Bored and lethargic
• As a school leader I have felt very much under pressure and trying to balance competing interests. However, I have a great team and so feel very positive about the current way we are coping in school.
• As a senco, the govt keep loading on work with risk assessments and EHCP conversations etc so I can't get on with all the other work I have to do :-(
• As if I am working a crazy number of hours to try and keep up to be constantly berated in the press as being lazy and on holiday. I feel demoralised and overwhelmed
• Beginning to feel frustrated that so many people are not following the rules that this may be prolonged
• Committed to providing a safe and happy place for children to return to
• Concerned. No trust or faith in the Government who I appreciate need to focus on the economy, but worry it is at the expense of teacher wellbeing. I think we came back to soon. We have a government reactive and easily swayed rather than proactive with defined strategy. i do think the children are benefitting from being back at school but I have genuine worries regarding my stress levels (which I am managing), my colleagues stress levels and the impact on their families. My sleep is certainly disturbed at the moment.
• Conflicted (2 responses)
• Confused and guilty at having to continue working from home
• Confused and the most stressed I've been in a while,, trying to advise staff on union issues. Apprehensive about returning to work. Guilty as I'm not currently teaching a 'bubble' as we have less than 50 of children in but am still in school when I could be doing the online work from home. Nervous about more children coming back to school and the difficulties around trying to socially distance.
• confused by safety advice - teachers and children thrown under bus? Enjoying teaching again.
• Confused, uncertain, concerned, anxious, alone
• Considering quitting teaching even though I cannot afford to. My head is EXCELLENT. I feel that the government is treating us like paid slaves. This is the worst I have ever felt in my 23 yr career
• Continuing to feel overwhelmed as the workload doesn’t ease
• Couldn't go in due to wife's medical condition. Worked from home (webpage/zoom/phone calls to children). Not ideal, but essential to not take risks for our health.
• Demotivated
• Devastated. I was a Learning Support Teacher at a small independent school for 14 years. At the start of April I was furloughed, with no warning. Since then my school has had no contact with me. I have been completely forgotten. I have never felt so rejected or useless. I am in limbo. In theory the school could need me to return to work at short notice. Therefore I feel that it would be wrong for me to try to find something else to occupy my mind, such as voluntary work. This would give me purpose. But, instead I am at home just waiting to be needed again. Will I even have a job in September.
• Difficult as opportunities to get WiFi online limited & rely on the Internet on my phone to do work!
• Despondent
• Dissatisfied and frustrated about the decisions made around the return to school for my class of Reception children. I had found a good working model for remote learning that I could no longer fulfil as I prepared for their return to school.
• Enervated. Pooped. Lack of motivation. Children are disengaging from remote learning - novelty has work off for everyone.
• Enjoying a different challenge and seeing surprisingly positive results.
• Excited to get back to work
• Excited with new changes and welcoming children back to school. Frustrated with the changes we have had to implement which has meant no individualised emotional support for children that need it. annoyed that we cannot buy in cleaners to do clean school at lunchtime and senior leaders are doing it.
• Exhausted (3 responses)
• Exhausted from the responsibility of keeping people safe.
• Exhausted, lethargic, stressed at times, overwhelmed.
• Extremely anxious and under pressure to return to school despite feeling this is unsafe. Seriously considering how soon I can leave teaching.
• Far too much responsibility for very vulnerable lives and the normal people in the whole community. Still don't understand why it is deemed safe to sit in a room with up to 14 other people that may or may not have followed lockdown but can't really see family that live 3 hours away.
• Fearful. Feel pushed into this situation for economic reasons.
• Fed up with all the rules and the limitations it places on education
• Feel the workload is unfair as only some classes are back but I am in every day while others are at home working but in much more relaxed circumstances
• Feeling of being in an impossible situation where there is not going to be a situation where everyone’s needs are met - staff, children, parents
• Fine
• Fine about work, confused and extremely stressed about the guidance from government. For example, plans in place, we have opened as required for yr 6 on the !st, yesterday a document appears dated 4th June for the opening on the 1st June, It muddies some of the earlier guidance!
• fine, i cant claim to be that bothered by the whole situation.
• Fine, I have worked 2 to 3 days a week throughout lockdown looking after vulnerable and key worker children. I am delighted that the children who have returned are so positive , calm and happy to be back.
• Fine, working during lockdown took some time to get used to but I am definitely used to it and in a nice rhythm. I have a lot of contact with my students and am able to plan learning that wouldn't normally be done in a normal school setting. Being back at school with a new year level seemed daunting to begin with but it has been relaxing and enjoyable, it's a nice change of pace. The children got used to the new rules very quickly and easily comply. There have been teething problems but nothing too difficult to deal with.
• Fine. Workload very heavy but had end goal in sight
• Frightened for my family. Frightened of catching it and passing it to the children I work with. I am safeguarding and incidents are escalating, worried about the families and children I care for.
• Frustrated (2 responses)
• Frustrated - I know there are so many children and families who are feeling the pressures from being in lockdown and increased anxieties and it's frustrating knowing how much support I could give if there weren't so many restrictions/limitations in place.
• Frustrated and as though I’m babysitting not teaching- horrific workload preparing to teach older children I don’t know and yet still provide for my own year group online
• Frustrated and uncertain
• Frustrated Anxious Worried Scared Confused Disbelieving
• Frustrated at public perception as schools have been open and I have been in work regularly yet people don't seem to understand that. The amount of negative press around teachers in the media is disheartening and no other key workers seem to be treated this way. I also didn't get my half term so I am feeling quite stressed and tired.
• Frustrated frightened and thrown to the wolves. Public treat us like baby sitters
• Frustrated, disconnected, overloaded by paperwork from Management that is shielding at home while I go few days to work at school with children and the rest of the week work from home
• Frustrated, nervous but safe
• Frustrated; inconsistent ; anxious
• Generally happy and relaxed. Preparing risk assessments and plans for re-opening has probably been the most difficult part of the whole lockdown though.
• Getting on with things and adapting
• Glad to be away from home more and to try to get into a better (more normal, but not the old normal!) routine.
• Glad to get back to a routine. All be it very different
• Grateful to have a job and to be doing something worthwhile. At times stressed because of the uncertainty but that can't be helped.
• great, positive
• Happy to be in work as usual but angry that things are changing constantly so the rules and boundaries are difficult to manage. The children are happy to be in school and to see people.
• Hard worked and a bit worried but managing my feelings and those of others in school. Time is at a premium. Good team so together we are getting through it.
• Has been nice to be back in school teaching the year 6 children in my class
• Have been very busy preparing for the wider reopening, working closely with the Headteacher. Have felt appreciated by him and my colleagues on SLT and school governors
• Have got into a routine but would still prefer to be at school.
• Helpless
• highly stressed, emotional and tearful. Frustrated that all this seems unsafe and pointless
• I am a SENCO and on the SLT, so whilst working during lockdown, I felt very productive, the past two weeks which has been all about getting the school up and running has been much harder, and frankly depressing as we have to read the guidance repeatedly, carry out the risk assessments, strip the classrooms. As an SLT we have been working 6 days a week since Lockdown without a break. I think our energy and emotional levels are very much depleted.
• I am back at work in a Reception Class. We have 6 pupils in each week on a two week rota. Fortunately the rest of the parents had the sense to keep their children at home. I strongly believe Schools should have stayed shut until September. My anxiety is through the roof. I've had to double my antidepressants dose just to be able to get through the door into work.
• I am delighted to be back at work, as I feel that the little ones at my preschool really need interaction with their peers to prepare them for 'big school' in September. I spent most of lockdown preparing for this week, had meetings with staff, etc. to make sure we were ready to go on June 1st.
• I am happy to be back at school. I feel it is the right thing to do and that it is important to make this work. It has been very tiring, especially the demand of continuing to support those continuing to learn at home, while trying to be fully present for those returning to school. Our primary focus is on the children's social and emotional wellbeing at the moment.
• I am missing company a bit but am also very happy at home so am not desperate for lockdown to ease. I am in NI so we have just this week come back but only to cover a Key Worker family of 3 children 1 of whom is a child with additional needs. I feel we have not yet quite got to grips with how to make best use of the children's time in school while remembering their peers are not in school so there is no point or need for a 'normal' school day. Also as a very small school this is 4 days a week on rota for both full time teachers & 2 days for our part time teacher.
• I am not going into school and so I am putting work for the children on google classroom. I am not sure what I am doing is having any impact or is even being received at all by the children. There is no feedback from the children/families and I've had no feedback from my line manager or headteacher so I have no idea if I am doing a good job or uploading the right kinds of things. I am ploughing on while looking after a toddler at home but I have no idea if what I am doing is in any way worth it.
• I am well supported. I find balancing the needs of the children and I teach and my own family a challenge, but that is true of teaching all the time.
• I been feeling useful, and content, I was worked all the way through the crises, going into work four days a week as DSL
• I cope very well with lockdown and all the restrictions, our school returned this week, I was worried, but it has been ok so far. Its nice to have routine back, but i'm so tired
• I did not feel ready or fully prepared for the children o come back to school full time in Monday 1st June. I was worried and concerned at having to teach Year 1 when I have not taught that age range for 8 years and have not had my own class for the last 5 years. I am very worried as to how I will fulfil my responsibilities as SENCo now that I have to teach as well.
• I do not feel safe in my work. All SLT are not in class and I feel we are guinea pigs especially as I am approaching 58 years old. I find it stressful and that I am there to babysit not teach. I am also planning for home learning.
• I don’t feel comfortable being at work and even more so as have a child that has returned to school this week too. I don’t think schools should be open.
• I don't have much time to think about it as I am so busy. Most days I work from 7.30am till 9pm approx. I then spend time with my parents [in their 80s] who live with me.
• I don't really want to go back, certainly not to my full workload. I look forward to seeing colleagues.
• I enjoy coming to work. I don't like staying at home
• I enjoyed alone but felt the work at home is not so achieved as in school. People connection is lacking in some way even with tech like 'zoom'!!!
• I feel a bit useless. I work part time and have a 1 year old so working remotely is challenging. I've had to swap year groups as my year group returned to school and I have no childcare as my parents can no longer look after my child. I just don't feel like I'm adding much.
• I feel confident in the work I am doing personally, However i worry about the mental health and well being of the children in my care. I create extra lessons to do PSHEE and have tutor time to ensure they have an external outlet to home. As far as my work place is concerned I feel management has been very haphazard, almost blasé about the whole thing. Not once has senior management mentioned the well being of the staff or praised the staff who are delivering lessons to the children (especially our Nursery, reception and year 1 staff). Major changes are happening in September, a full face lift for the school and all the staff found out via the email sent out to parents about the changes.
• I feel depressed and I am afraid that this lockdown will be the end of my relationship. I have huge pressure from work because I work in an independent school and the parent and owners want their money’s worth. I feel frustrated that our senior leadership makes and changes rules (or applies them inconsistently) without consulting or considering the effect they might have in staff. I am frustrated and angry that I have just received a new contract in which the pandemic is blamed for a pay freeze while I have had to use my own supplies, electricity and equipment to deliver the quality of lessons expected. I want so much to deliver the best lessons possible to my pupils but I do not think it fair that I should pay for the equipment they require.
• I feel frustrated that we are being passed guidelines from the government without realistic expectations of what school can manage. I think it is very important to be supporting the children at this time of year with transition and this should be the focus for the children so that they are able to experience some semblance of norm before the summer. Instead we are having to spend hours making rotas and then remaking rotas to have 2 year groups back when the children in years 2-5 have been completely ignored like they do not exist
• I feel I have been passively bullied into returning to school in an environment that despite all efforts to the contrary is alien and unsafe
• I feel I've worked some very long hours to keep on op of all the COVID reading for school. I have enjoyed being able to spend longer at home during some weeks. I've been more productive at home when working on strategic planning.
• I feel like I am being asked to do the impossible: deliver high quality music lessons to children in school when I am not allowed in their bubble, they are not allowed devices, I can't give them instruments because most instruments don't take to being washed, and they are not allowed to sing together. I have to prepare lessons for the one teacher (a non-specialist) in their bubble to deliver so needs careful explaining. I'm also expected to deliver the same online to those not in school. I also set up and deliver, via Teams to Nursery, Reception and year 1. The workload is now affecting my physical well-being as I am hunched over a computer for up to 18 hours daily preparing, delivering and video teaching. I do love my job but maintaining the quality of the music is so challenging in these circumstances. It felt more meaningful teaching online.
• I feel like i'm not needed and can't do my job.
• I feel like we’ve done our best, and it isn’t good enough. I feel like we are seen as holidaying when we are working.
• I feel scared that it is too soon to ease lockdown and that the government has made a political decision. I feel safer staying at home and will not be changing my behaviour until I have more evidence that it is safe to do so. My colleagues have been extremely anxious about their return to school and it is distressing to see people you care about feeling so distressed.
• I feel that I'm very important member of this society and doing worthy job
• I feel that it is relentless. I feel that working from home means that I have to be at my laptop/phone from 8 until 4.30 with a short break for lunch and I know I have plenty to do but feel I am working a little bit in my own bubble. No-one else in authority shares my full role, so won't understand. In the evenings I get lots of messages from colleagues and feel I need to be up beat and positive for them. It is quite exhausting. I am always outwardly positive and LOVE my job but I am tired.
• I feel the teaching profession has been victimised and since lockdown i have been doing online teaching from 9-4. I feel frustrated and very misrepresented by the press.
• I feel there is more purpose to my role since now the lockdown has been eased. I have felt happy with how the school has communicated with me about my role and what is required of me as well as making me feel safe about returning.
• I feel very unsafe and have even been told by management when I asked for the heating on, to close the windows. I do not feel I am being supported by my school at all.
• I felt very over whelmed at the start of the week and there is just so much to do so I have worked every evening to try and stay on top of it all.
• I hate going into school - working with key workers children and ones with education plans - really hard to teach as all in different year groups - we can't go close to children - can't do any marking. We have to stay in one room - no lunch breaks/ constantly cleaning surfaces - we have already had to shut down one bubble as a suspected case of covid - waiting on test results. The trying to set work for home - constant e- mailing trying to chase up children who have returned nothing. I am a Year 6 teacher - so missing out on a residential, end of year performances, leavers etc. Having to try reassure parents and children when I don't feel good myself. I actually no longer want to be a teacher.
• I have been at work throughout the lockdown, caring for Key Workers' children, including the Easter Holiday and half term. I feel I have made a positive contribution. I have not felt at all anxious. Last week was extremely busy making preparations for re-opening of the Prep School and it felt quite exciting as the school feels a bit sad without children. This week has been great, seeing the excitement on the children's faces, and the relief on most of the parents' faces has made the effort worthwhile.
• I have been attending work every day and therefore have not felt 'locked down'. I also took advantage of the lifted restrictions enabling us to travel in the car in order to exercise and did this on one occasion which was really enjoyable and 4 adults (2 each from 2 households) met in a garden, socially distanced which was also very enjoyable.
• I have been back at work a week. I enjoy working from home and I am effective at using Technology to teach remotely.
• i have been completely anxious and angry about the wider opening of school and i feel powerless
• I have been full of anxiety, frustration and concern - totally unable to switch off even over half-term. Uncharacteristically emotional due to the weight of decisions to be made without proper guidance, supporting staff and parents and exhaustion.
• I have been in for 10 weeks so this last two weeks has not made any difference
• I have been in school the entire time as we have been open to key workers children. which I feel I was doing a little to help the doctors and nurses plus care home workers a little bit of comfort that there children were beaning cared for in a safe environment.
• I have been in work for both weeks, I have been sent shopping for safety equipment for work, I have been asked to work in school even though I am truly against being back with the high volume of staff and children. My head is making decisions without consulting staff or SMT and I feel that these are not always in the best interest of us all.
• I have been stressed over the pressure of work during lockdown. The constant messages from parents, the amount of work to give to the children and the lack of appreciation from the headteacher. Back at school now and no change.
• I have been very up and down, sometimes I feel fine and positive, other times I feel very down and anxious.
• I have enjoyed being back in with Year 6 and I have been busy with online teaching during lockdown. I have felt quite positive for the majority of the time
• I have enjoyed the last 11 weeks working in school and I bring my child with me. Over the last 2 weeks however I have felt more anxious as the rest of the population ease out of lockdown and can't keep to the rules that have kept us safe up until now. Our surrounding school community have now come out of hiding in and out of each others garden and their children are playing together NOT social distancing. What has been the point of us keeping them safe for them to come out and act like this!! I've been anxious watching England go back to school, trying to put strategies in place to prepare for incoming pupils in August. If they continue with this social behaviour all summer I am worrying needlessly about social distancing so I have decided to leave it until August!!!
• I have enjoyed the new challenges and figuring out how to move forward
• I have felt anxious, slightly depressed and a little worthless at times.
• I have felt confident in the procedure s my head teacher has put in place. He has kept us updated and immediately informed us of any changes were needed.
• I have felt engaged with the tasks I am doing. I'm really looking forward to working with children again from next week.
• I have felt exhausted and overwhelmed. Isolated and expected to make endless decisions that please nobody. I have had great problems switching off and leaving school behind.
• I have felt that my decisions about the risks that I take have been taken away from me, I have lost faith and trust in the guidance given after so many mixed messages. My school is following the guidance to the letter except having 3 teachers in each bubble on a rota each day. They have tried very hard but all of this fails to take account of asymptomatic carriers and transmission. I felt stressed and very anxious. Parental emails have reached an all time high and they appear to need more and more support. Nothing is ever enough, with live lessons watched by parents and marking all done online it is a very scrutinised way to work and everyone expects it to be normal. After a 40 minute phone call with a parent telling me how hard it is to work from home and support their child I wanted to scream - this is what teachers across the country are also expected to do. We get bad national press as well. I have never worked so hard as delivering the curriculum remotely, parents expect 8:30 - 3 full time lessons and it just isn't possible with sport and practical subjects removed. disheartened and thinking that I might leave teaching altogether - this could be the straw that breaks
• I have felt worried about returning as I fear for the health of my staff and children however it is lovely to have my schools open and seeing the children enjoying themselves. My staff have been brilliant and I am very proud of them. Parents are very appreciative of all that we are doing.
• I have found fitting work in along side caring for my family very difficult. This then increases stress and anxiety.
• I have ignored advise and been in work every day. I think I had coved earl6 on with symptoms that are now recognised but were not at the time. I really need an antibody test so that I can get on with my life.
• I have just resigned from my job. The time I have been given in lockdown has made me see how toxic teaching is. I can't go back to 70 hours a week of working.
• I have lost much of my enthusiasm for my current job, not because I don't like the school or the pupils - I do - but being at home all the time has changed my outlook on my work and I am not sure if my enthusiasm will return if/when we get back to normal. I am also very depressed about not being able to travel to see family because they are a long way away (and not all in the UK) and so day trips are out of the question.
• I have loved it! Working with a small group of staff and keyworker children has brought us closer together. We have had a lot of fun. It has been hard work but more flexible than normal teaching.
• I have never worked so hard in my life. 15 hour days are the norm and working through weekends and all holidays so no break Feb half term. I am getting used to planning and recording the remote lessons but we are using 2 different systems - J2E for Rec - Y3 and Teams for Y4-6. I teach maths to Y3 and 6 so had to learn 2 different systems which is not great as a technophobe! J2E is a nightmare when it comes to marking. Teams much better. However everything takes about 4 times as long to do . Assemblies take days to prepare as the expectation is very high - whole school and all parents watching.
• I have not stopped working since lockdown, in fact I work more hours than ever before. I feel bringing early years back was too soon and has put a massive stress on us in terms of creating bubbles, having enough staff to look after each bubble as well as staff to continue the remote learning programme, having the space for additional classrooms, dealing with lots of parental and staff anxieties to name but a few
• I have started to become less engaged with the work but now that I am back at work but the child I support is still at home, I feel less engaged with her as I have children in school to support.
• I have started to get a bit bored of it, as it was new and interesting to be teaching on Teams at first. I have had to cancel my August wedding, which has impacted on my general mood. I still feel that the workload, pressure and stress of online teaching is less than actually going into school.
• I want things to go back to normal, but when faced with doing normal things, I feel worried.
• I was excited about returning and feeling more connected with the team after remote working for so long but the reality of the 'new normal' has intensified the feelings of separation from the team
• I wish we could just get back to normal, planning for online work is harder than planning for in class. I will be sorry not to see my year 6 children before they move to secondary. I feel sorry for the children.
• I’ve enjoyed lockdown, I’m in a rhythm of work and providing support to my pupils and I feel safe at home.
• I'm angry that schools are returning and that it puts pressure on me to return my little boy to nursery which I do not want to do. I feel like I'm trying to everything all at once, a lot of it reactive, and that I'm therefore overwhelmed and unable to do much of it well.
• I'm satisfied that I have done everything I can to safely offer provision to attending children. However, I do feel extremely frustrated by the contradictions inherent in guidance put forward by different government departments. As a teacher, there is an enormous disparity between behaviours that are prohibited in my private life and those in my professional life. Government guidance as it impacts on my own life lacks coherence and clarity.
• I'm worried about going back to school, so much so that I've been reassigned to Year 5 so I didn't have to go back on 1st June. I feel so much safer teaching from home.
• Impossible to manage - I have a 1 year old at home, no childcare as can't use grandparents and my husband is trying to work at home full time as well.
• In lockdown, I felt in control of the situation. I was able to work from home and felt safe in my home environment, however since returning to school this week, I feel more anxious, tired, stressed and worried.
• In my work is just good, but I feel so bored in the lock down, because you cannot do the usual activity that you do. It is also different meeting your co worker and students in person that just meeting them in the net.
• In work I'm OK . I don't have time to think too much about what's going on in the world. I know my family is safe what we are doing in work is to help us keep working and staying safe.
• Increasingly despondent. I ordinarily like working under my own motivation and in the early weeks I don't think the lockdown affected me negatively at all. In fact I had a better work life balance. Now most of the teachers have returned to school since 1st but I am continuing at home to provide home learning for a year group and continue with any SENCo work. I am beginning to feel tired most of the time and seriously bored even though I have enough work to fill my days.
• Irritable. Constantly having to adapt as new information is received. Frustrated trying to prepare for next academic year with no idea of what will be necessary. Burdened with extra tasks at a busy time of the academic year.
• Irritated by DfE Tired Frustrated Wanting people to stop being ridiculous Want chn back
• Isolated rural school so limited sense of lock down
• Isolated, been a total lack of engagement. Though I have seen lots of people pat each on the back via wellbeing emails, I have not been spoken to by my line manager for 43 days now
• It has been highly stressful and very difficult - complexity of wider opening and expectations of parents, staff and other stakeholders along with the responsibility for safety and wellbeing of the children.
• It has been very intense - especially around the amount of information to process from the DfE, Local Authority and Government, how this information then is strategised, acted upon (operational) and ensuring our systems then get communicated with clarity to our staff team. My main areas of responsibilities also had to be put on 'pause' as my focus had to be 95% on our wider school opening. I feel worried at times that this won't be understood by staff and their expectation of me will be as before COVID-19. On the flip side I have learned an enormous amount about leadership, systems and people. Although it has been challenging at times in a way it has helped me to become more confident in myself about areas that I though weren't as developed as they should have been. I have also had to take a measured approach with my own mental health and where I, in the past, could get really worked up about situations/people, I now 'shake it off' and get on with the bigger pictures. On a personal level, I have enjoyed the lockdown, as I got to spend more time with my husband and children.
• It is difficult as I am not going into work due to us trying not to use public transport. This has led to guilt for not stepping up, even though I have offered to go in, and letting the team down, anxiety about actually leaving the house and going to work and boredom with not having my normal routine. I have also missed the relationships I have at work.
• It is hard as I don't agree with what the Government are asking schools to do, which is hard to separate from the work that needs doing. It creates a lot of frustration as I have to do things I don't feel are right for pupils and families as well as staff.
• It is very stressful and having only started my headship in January it has been extremely busy. I am coping well with most things but sleeping badly. Biggest frustration is staff who relish causing conflict and sabotaging things. Only one but affects the morale of the team.
• It’s been and continues to be a very stressful and worrying time- we’ve had our first new group of children come in last week and next week we have two other year groups coming in- it’s very stressful for me as a head having the full responsibility if anyone gets Covid-19. Trying to work remotely even when I’m in school contacting others working from their homes takes so much longer to do every task.
• It's good to be back and get the children back to school, but it's not proper teaching.
• I've been excited to come back, happy to see the children's smiling faces, but frustrated by the restrictions and the difficulties of implementing social distancing. I've felt very stressed by my difficulties of sorting out childcare for my return to work.
• I've been teaching my Nursery class throughout lockdown, first via Zoom for 5 weeks and now with children at school. I have felt anxious, frustrated and disappointed that no one was listening to the unions or latterly to the scientists about re-opening. I also felt the teachers, especially those in Early Years were not consulted or listened to. We seem to be the silent and invisible keyworkers on the educational front line.
• Just the same as I have been at work all the time.
• Know what I’m doing, large workload with reports now being written
• Lockdown has given opportunities to develop And adapt teaching methods, particularly online teaching which for me personally is a real good thing as it matches my lifestyle
• Lockdown now feels pointless to my family. We are both at work, the children are at school so all mixing with at least 18 other people all day, just can’t do anything nice after with other people we love as feel we are too much of a risk.
• Looking forward to going to work to see colleagues.
• Lots of hours Brought the team together More productive by working from home due to reduced interruptions Work is really important as a sense of purpose
• Lots of uncertainty. We didn't know how many children we were expecting as the head had not canvassed the parents so there was anxiety around that. Feel let down by the unions who seemed to do very little to stop us returning to school and what little they did was too late. Feel very let down by the government who have sent us back to school without meeting their 5 steps or the unions 5 steps. We have been lied to and lied to and lied to. The gov don't want to line up 2m apart in parliament but they expect us to do that with our children in school. The Dominic Cummings affair has made me feel very angry and upset as i have done nothing other than come to work/stay at home during lock down and have not seen my son, father or sister since February half term. His actions have made lots of people no longer care about lockdown and i fear for a second wave of the virus and fear that the gov will be reluctant to close schools quickly enough to stem the virus in school.
• Marking and preparation is massively time-consuming and isn't getting any quicker.
• Mixed - I love my work and I’ve been working harder than ever in lockdown. But I have had a dispute with my headteacher and would happily take a year’s salary and leave.
• Mixed emotions, ok about being in lockdown, worried about increasing pupil numbers and everyone staying safe and well
• Mixed feelings
• Mostly bemused - being at work but it's lockdown is a contradiction. Frustrated and angry with public perception as well, I feel that since the easing of restrictions, people has take the ease to mean there's no restrictions.
• Motivated to support people.
• Much calmer since the planning has been complete and the pathway to reopening has been defined
• Much less pressure than pre lockdown and a better work life balance.
• My role & circumstance is slightly atypical as I was working in an administrative capacity for the Emergency Provision, which gave me enough work to feel useful. This has now ended with the phased re-opening, so my workload has almost evaporated overnight. As I live with someone who is Shielded, I have been afforded the consideration of not working on-site with children, which is good given my anxiety about bringing the virus home, however the combination of these factors leaves me at a loss for purpose and my mood is a lot worse than it has been previously. I've gone through the emotional rollercoaster since the announcement of the planned phased re-opening of schools was made, I still largely disagree with the endeavour, but as with many of us have become apathetic and worn-down to the point of accepting that we're powerless to an untrustworthy government, and have a general melancholic outlook to life at the moment.
• Nervous
• Nervous and anxious
• Nervous, overwhelmed, isolated
• nervous, uncertain, exhausted
• Nervous, worried, apprehensive, uncertain
• Nervous. Scared about a second peak.
• never been through this so very hard to accept it
• No change, work is very hectic with constant changing advice and guidance, so there is a lot to navigate. Lockdown has been fine, I have a garden, it was half term and the sun was shining.
• Not wanting to go back, certainly 3 to my full workload
• Nothing has changed for me, so I feel ok, although I'm nervous about eventually returning to school
• Often quite frustrated that not able to do what feels works best and that there isn't the understanding of management as to what is needed and why
• Ok
• OK - MOSTLY IN THE LOOP BUT A LITTLE CONCERNED ABOUT OTHER COLLEAGUES.
• OK about work frustrated with lockdown
• ok but miss direct work with students very much
• Ok-ish but have to work at being positive
• on edge
• Over the past two weeks, things have been stressful and there has been heightened anxiety linked to impending change. Since being at school and open to the priority year groups, I have felt less stressed and much calmer.
• Overwhelmed (3 responses)
• Overwhelmed and guilty for the home learners
• Overwhelmed by the level of preparation and the complete lack of government understanding and empathy for the position primary schools are in. It feels very much that we are part of an experiment - a cheap and ill-thought out version of track and trace! The responsibility of ensuring that the Risk Assessment covers every eventuality to protect staff, children and families is daunting and that is putting it lightly.
• Overwhelmed by work, happy in lockdown
• Overwhelmed sometimes
• Overwhelmed with the amount of work as a school leader.
• Overworked (2 responses)
• please to get on with returning
• Poorly supported.
• Positive, as lockdown has been a known quantity; however slightly concerned about how things will open out from now on, keeping safe and keeping others especially
• Positive, busy in my support role helping families and providing them with a lifeline
• positive, important
• Pressured and stressed. Trying to manage some at school, some at home, providing worthwhile lessons for those at school with some still at home from those classes plus the other regular remote lessons has made for an insane workload and amount of contact time. School frustrating as children are so restricted and benefits of being together harder to see without being able to share the practical resources upon which my lessons depend.
• Pressured, stressed, worried. I feel like going back to school is completely wrong and just about politics not children.
• Pressurised and scared
• Pretty positive about a return for the kids - the economy needs to get going again. Glad to be useful. Sad to be back to full-time after so much wonderful time with my own family.
• Quite happy to be back at work and gain some form of normality back into my life.
• Re work very stressed, anxious & worried. I did not want to go ahead With the reopening on June 1st as am scared about the risk. Re lockdown - safe & it control of the risk to myself & my family.
• Ready to go and prepared
• Realised it is a job and not my life. Family are more important to worry over not the job.
• Really negative.
• Regarding work am feeling absolutely compromised victimised unhappy and stressed
• Rubbish
• Sad and totally ignored by SLT as I’ve been told to continue working from home due to being asthmatic but given no work or contact with staff.
• Satisfied
• Scared about the restrictions being lifted.
• Scared, angry, nervous, anxious, optimistic, out of control, in control, satisfied, positive, scared, angry... repeat.
• Scared, unappreciated
• Scared, worried, anxious, unsure
• Since lockdown I have been in school almost every day - including throughout the school holidays. Time spent with key worker and vulnerable children has felt like a very valuable public service however since 1st June and easing it is feeling increasingly like schools are only a pawn in an economic and political game - a game which has no rules and a game we keep being publicly accused of cheating at!!!. The logistics of organising safe, socially distanced 'bubbles' has meant that we can only offer part-time to year R and Year 6, full-time for year 1 but this means that we are now FULL in our keyworker bubbles and so can not accept any more vulnerable children or any new children of critical workers. It is a mess and we feel that we should have stayed open for an ever increasing group of vulnerable and keyworker children instead of what has been forced upon us. We are now putting every member of our staff at risk every day - a fact that we are mindful of - with very limited ways to ensure we stay safe.
• So busy and not really getting much done - my lists are still there the next day.
• So much uncertainty
• Stressed and anxious about planning and completing everything correctly to follow the guidance
• Starting to get fed up of lock down and working from home now- desperate to go back but unable to due to vulnerable family members
• Still worried about starting work full time from Monday 8th
• Strange and apprehensive about going back on site. Worried about safety, risk assessment and the quality of provision.
• Stressed (3 responses)
• Stressed and anxious about children going back to something that doesn't resemble school. Pointless reopening if they are not learning or gaining from going in. Pleased restrictions have eased so I can now visit my parents
• Stressed and busy- really tired as working with no holidays and supporting others is exhausting. Making decisions on changing advice and little clear guidance leaves you feeling worried if you are doing the right things.
• Stressed and worried. Not having enough time to do anything to a good standards.
• Stressed and. Anxious
• Stressed as online teaching is very full on and I've been working longer hours than normal. Tired because days working in front of the computer don't allow a lot of time for switching off. Anxious because of what is happening and I'm worried about my own health and that of my family's
• stressed out, not knowing what will happen and what it will be like when we return. Will all staff follow the same rules? Will the pupils be ok and emotionally resilient? The entire situation has been extremely stress inducing.
• Stressed, challenged technologically, overwhelmed exhausted
• Stressed, obligated, overlooked by media/wider community, tired, anxious, happy to see more colleagues again.
• Stressed. Anxious. Like I'm not doing enough and not doing what I am doing well enough
• Stressful at times but improved as the weeks went on
• terrified
• That I have a huge responsibility on my shoulders.
• That it’s too soon to open school. If more than Y6 and Y1 returned it would be impossible to social distance, it’s pushing it with 50% attendance.
• That the government is gambling with people's lives and the rushed lockdown measures easing risks another spike within the UK - this will set us back weeks from where we currently stand. It is clearly evident that the government's main concern is the economy, Brexit and re-election in the future!
• The act of returning to nursery and seeing the children has been brilliant, really lovely, they have been wonderful and staff that have returned have been excellent. Still overwhelmed, and exhausted, and concerned about the possibility we may need to adapt and change to admit more children, especially with a lack of staff.
• The word 'despair' springs to mind. I am constantly worried about my children and their mental health.
• The work I am doing at home is very tedious and dull. I miss the opportunity for fact to face chat with colleagues. I feel useful in supporting my colleagues who are back in school but very isolated.
• The work never seems to end, as it feels like government actions are only working if school leaders then put in lots of spade work - and we're all feeling a little tired.
• Things are going extremely well. I personally don't mind being in lockdown as I rarely choose to go out when not at work anyway.
• Two weeks ago I felt optimistic about the quality of the risk assessments undertaken to ensure vigilance and safety on site as we prepared to receive more children back to school. Practical preparations were going well in terms of readying the learning spaces, cleaning and devising safe entry and exit points for drop off and collection. Staff were well versed and heavily involved in these preparations. A final virtual staff meeting was hosted by the Head on the morning of 29th May and we were all set to receive Key Worker children plus children from Y1 and Y6. By 3:30pm that same afternoon, all these plans and hope were shattered. Left feeling demoralised and undervalued and again, unsure of next steps. The hardest part was letting down our families. In half term. With two days notice. I am shielding at home and have felt immense guilt about not being able to physically be with the team at this hugely stressful time. I have been heavily involved in checking generic risk assessments and writing individual risk assessments for those with additional special needs or medical needs. I have also been heavily involved in maintaining our safeguarding procedures, giving advice and taking action where appropriate. I think it is safe to say I have certainly been extremely busy. Can't believe I ever used to get time off in half terms!
• Unappreciated, stressed about making mistakes, unable to draw on my usual resilience for dealing with aggressive parents, constantly in a high level of anxiety dealing with issues that arise that couldn’t have been foreseen.
• Under pressure to finish plans and write End of year reports
• Uneasy as the students are beginning to access school
• Unfair as I am in every day on the rota and all other staff are only in 2/3 days
• Unsettled, unsure of what is happening next. Dwindling confidence in the government to do the right thing.
• Unsure
• Unsure about being back but know it is important for the children
• Up and down - worried about my health and that of others; happy to see colleagues and a few children and being able to get more work completed than was possible at home.
• Up and down. Sometimes positive and full of energy other times It has been hard to motivate myself.
• Upset as I was told after a two years probation that I won’t get a permanent contract due to the current situation despite being well liked by pupils and parents
• Variable - frustration at the changing situation and lack of communication, but able to cope with it and separate myself from it.
• Very anxious about returning to school. Feel it’s too early and schools are being open for reasons other than safety. Have underlying health condition and feel having to go back with be dangerous
• very anxious, workload overwhelming
• Very busy and feeling everyone wants an immediate response from me for work issues. I find using all the new IT stressful but when I have managed it feel pleased. Lockdown is now lifting and I am scared people will start taking risks
• Very Exhaustive, tired and don't get time to introspect - a feeling of missing out something is always there. Uncertainty from decision makers like govt. Boards, Managements and negativity from parents is very depressing.
• Very fragmented, more pressurized having to go back to school, dealing with so much admin, parents, colleagues(Some furloughed and less present with higher workload for left behinds), feeling overwhelmed, so much uncertainty, extra work.
• Very stressful getting the school ready for the children's return. I won't be teaching in my classroom and it has been emptied of all items that cannot be cleaned. After being in school every week throughout the lockdown, I am now working from home until the 15th when my class return. I feel useless.
• Very trapped and overwhelmed
• Very uneasy waiting for answers and listening to differing opinions. I am enjoying home learning and getting to know the children individually. It is good not to be constantly drained by controlling in appropriate behaviour in the classroom.
• Vey relieved that Lancashire LEA decided not to come back on the 1st June. I have been in most days as I can isolate in an office and continue to plough through paperwork
• Was worried about the unknown but believe it will get easier
• We have been doing online lessons and it is a real slog. Children are exhausted and so am I. We are desperately trying to create a 'buzz' and sense of community but there is no 'joy'. I don't think I am projecting my feelings to the children, their faces look empty. Would it be worse with no online lessons? At least they see one another.
• Well I’ve never enjoyed the half term break as much! Work is very time consuming, as there are often issues over technology not working, the family fighting over computers, and I feel that the hours and hours I put in are not rewarded with quality work from the pupils. I wonder if they watch the pre recorded lessons and I wonder if they look at all the feedback and corrections I spent hours giving/doing.
• When I talk to my friends I realise that I haven't really been in lockdown. Work whether at home or in school has been so consuming that I haven't had the time to feel bored or upset at not going out. While I was doing a one week in two weeks off pattern to teach key worker children we were more relaxed at school and the staff mingled in a socially distanced way . Now I am back to teaching my year group bubble for two days a week, we have become stringent about keeping to our bubbles and I feel more isolated.
• Wish it would end! I’ve been told I won’t be back in school until September, for no good reason as far as I can see!
• Wobbly
• Wondering why I bother, there must be more to life than doing a job that is seen as populated by lazy individuals
• Work from home and work for home is quite taxing and Draining.
• Work has been far less intense and with far fewer hours which has meant that I have been able to enjoy it. However, with lockdown still in force, the thought of an upcoming weekend is a bit of an anti-climax with nowhere to 'go'. (I didn't get that feeling during the rest of lockdown!)
• Work has been fine as in the actual being in the building, the amount of demands made on me as headteacher over these last few weeks has been ridiculous - three different sorts of attendance registers needing to be filled in, email demands for risk assessments on ECHP children, more and more repeated information, lack of leadership from my LA, stuff coming from the diocese that is repeating information we already have as a maintained school and demanding that we continue with collective worship, trying to keep staff feeling safe, parents needing support with mental health issues, children who have returned to school needing lots of reassurance and then going home at the end of the day exhausted emotionally and physically.
• Work has been stressful. Had a potential covid case which put some staff in an anxious state over the weekend, luckily the test was negative. No support given in school. The teaching of children has been fine, but the amount of time we are spending washing hands is disproportionate to the learning. Lockdown has been OK I have had more “me” time, shopping for family and elderly isolating father takes a lot longer than normal and will become increasingly difficult as we return to full time teaching.
• Work has been very pressured. Opening for key workers whilst trying to prepare for wider opening. Worked through Easter and Half term. Guilt not helping with home learning with my teenagers who are not at school.
• Work is even more busier than before! I am now preparing and planning for my 'bubble' of children, the other Reception 'bubbles' (we are two-form entry) as well as, the parents that have chosen to keep their children at home. There is still an expectation for me to contact children at home via Zoom or phone calls weekly. In addition, we are given 30 minutes to eat lunch but encouraged to eat with the children so you do not get a break all day.
• work is overwhelming - but also a needed distraction to keep my mind occupied - working 12 hour days - using work too much
• Work preparation and returning to work is exhausting. Rules and routines are inconsistent. Social distancing not possible with small children. Hope we are doing the right thing.
• Working with small groups of children have been ok with but anxiety levels risen as wider reopening approached
• workload has been crazy! the daily changes to government guidelines is exhausting. The fact that they do not highlight the changes or additions to documents mean every document has to be read again and again. Some of these document are 20-60 pages each and as a leader of a 3018 school that can be as many as 6 documents per day. The conflicting advice between education settings and employers is also confusing. There is no switch off to working as weekend announcements and evening directives also arrive and need action quickly.
• Workload has been high and pressures intense, we have had to deal with staff and parental anxiety while at the same time creating workable solutions to a seemingly never ending list of problems! We are lucky to have such a strong and effective SLMT.
• Workload has been much harder this week as the staff from all year groups are being called in to staff the bubbles who have returned. That’s left fewer of us to plan, deliver and mark the online learning for the year groups who haven’t returned yet.
• Workload to open was ridiculous as guidelines kept changing, very frustrated and tired. Great to see the children , happy and more positive now.
• Workload was overwhelming, guidance from DFE caused additional steer and anxiety due to constant changes and late night/ weekend re issues with amendments. Pressure to deliver plans and communication was massive. All consuming- no time to see family/eat properly or exercise. Also as clinically vulnerable had to do all this work from home - it has just consumed my life since 10th May PM announcement. Have hardly slept either - with worry and late night working.
• Worried
• Worried about the possible implications of extending reopening in terms of the way the children react, how families would react to is as a school following the teacher baking in the media and the potential for a second style of the virus
• Worried and guilty. I have a medical condition on the ‘clinically vulnerable’ list so I can’t support colleagues on school.
• Worried mostly. It has got better since being back but I still feel anxious that we are doing this all too soon and my concerns for the children are very high. I don’t want a false start for them and the thought of going back into lockdown ... it would be deeply depressing. My thoughts are also for the children I am not seeing and the potential chasm between some who are managing to engage with learning and those who are not.
• You get used to it.

 

 

 

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