Increasingly common in secondary schools is the practice of putting students in ‘study hall’. This involves sometimes several lessons a week being with other classes where the teacher is absent, and everyone is working in a large space (like a hall) with a cover supervisor. The work is in silence and the teacher absence can be for many reasons. When teachers need days off for courses, special events or illness, the way of doing things now is to place the class in ‘study hall’.
The National Education Picture
On the 19th September, 2017, Mary Bousted, co-leader of the National Education Union said (in The Guardian Newspaper): “We now have a situation in England where less than half the teaching profession has more than 10 years’ experience. They are driven out by workload, by stress, and added to that mix, inadequate pay.” Many parents tell us their child’s teacher has left, is frequently absent, or that their local school is struggling with recruitment.
Schools are Planning Cover Lesson and Study Hall Days
If you’ve tried to complain about the amount of time your child is spending in ‘study hall’ some typical responses from schools include; “this is the way things are done now”; or “the work is relevant to the subject and topic”. But, what does this mean, exactly? The truth is, rather than plan for staff absence (which in the case of weddings and courses must be notified in advance) this is the new policy. NOT getting in qualified teachers to cover the lessons and interact with the students while they are learning. This is due to the harsh reality of budget cuts schools are having to implement. It’s not really their fault, but …
Does this affect your child’s education?
Anecdotal evidence would seem to indicate it does. Some parents have reported concerns that study hall is being used too frequently, up to three times per week in some cases. If you think about how much time in lessons are missed; this equals almost three full teaching days by half-term! At information evenings, parents are told the most important interactions a student can have for learning is to speak with their teacher, and quiz their teacher during differentiated lessons. To put things simply, if your child is in study hall often, they are not experiencing a differentiated lesson. There will be gaps in learning. Particularly, if they have misunderstood a concept.
What MagiKats has to Offer
Parents tell us the most attractive thing about MagiKats is the consistency we offer. Each student meets the same Principal and mentor week in, week out. Our mentors are experienced in their subjects, and we know that small group interactions are vital to check student understanding and knowledge extension. We set small homework tasks relevant to each core topic, (though it is not too much, just enough to keep them on track and consolidating), and provide a special programme designed for each student. We build core skills in the subjects and cover what’s been missed or not explained/understood.
You Can Take Action
At MagiKats, we specialise in year-round support, addressing those gaps in learning. A crucial reason parents enrol students for after school maths and English tuition programmes is to ensure their child is confident with the curriculum. The tuition is very affordable, and if you have any concerns about your child’s underachievement, or how often they are missing lessons due to teacher absence, please get in touch with us and we can discuss your specific needs and concerns.
From the team at MagiKats HQ
 Nearly half of England’s teachers plan to leave in next five years, Liz Lightfoot, The Guardian Newspaper, 19th September, 2017.