Ofsted: Bubbles leave teachers tired and lonely

Secondary school teachers feel fatigued and socially isolated because of bubble system, watchdog reports today
15th December 2020, 12:01am
John Roberts

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Ofsted: Bubbles leave teachers tired and lonely

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/ofsted-bubbles-leave-teachers-tired-and-lonely
The School Bubbles System Is Leaving Secondary School Teachers Fatgued, Ofsted Has Warned Today.

Operating in a bubble system during the Covid-19 pandemic is physically tiring for teachers and is leading to social isolation, Ofsted inspectors have found.

The watchdog said that bubble structures in secondary schools can mean teachers are moving with their resources between classrooms more than 40 times over a fortnight.

In a new report into how schools are coping with Covid-19, Ofsted also warned that operating bubbles in schools is leading to social isolation.


Teachers: Why bubbles could burst staff morale

Editorial: How will bubbles work this term?

Heads: Teachers being forced to clean classrooms


Ofsted's report, published today, is based on its findings from almost 300 visits to schools during November - most of which were carried out online.

The report says: "A few new findings have emerged in relation to teachers' wellbeing. The bubble structure in secondary schools is causing physical fatigue for some teachers, as staff - along with their resources - move from classroom to classroom.

"A secondary school leader explained that 'a teacher may teach 43 lessons across the fortnightly timetable and therefore move rooms 43 times'."

It adds: "Leaders suggested that in these scenarios, classrooms are no longer 'owned' by staff and are therefore neglected as learning spaces.

Ofsted found that some leaders in this school were planning to change this approach "to achieve a better, but safe, balance of pupil and staff movement".

The watchdog said that, in one school, leaders had provided staff with trolleys for their resources, and in another they had decided to keep staff in the same classroom but clean the desks between classes.

Ofsted also warned that the bubble system makes teaching more lonely as staff cannot meet in the staffroom as normal.

The report says; "While adding to physical fatigue of some secondary school staff, the bubble structure was also adding to the social isolation of staff.

"The usual socialising in the staffroom that helps staff's wellbeing cannot take place across bubbles.

"Some leaders have counteracted this issue by keeping in touch with their staff and encouraging staff to contact each other through social media groups."

Tes reported earlier this year how one school was combatting this issue with a tea trolley that was going along the corridors to serve hot drinks to teachers.

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