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Life After GCSEs - What to do with Gained Time

03 Jul 2019
Year 11 have gone!... Now what?
Depending on your school’s policy, you may end up with some gained time after your year 11s leave. Just as the pupils (and - let’s face it - you!) are winding down for the Summer break, it’s worth considering how to best spend your time. At this point in the year, I could take advantage of having less after-school duties and administrative tasks and so carrying out some of the much needed maintenance on my practice or take time for the handy opportunities gained time presents. I loved the increase in freedom at this point of the year and found it so useful to chat with my colleagues and friends in other schools about how they use theirs. Everyone is a bit different but we all seem to agree that the opportunity to interact with and casually observe colleagues is right up at the top of the list.

1) Clear out the last year
For me, organisation of physical objects has never been second nature - keeping a tidy desk, having space in my cupboards and drawers and always knowing where I can find each book and folder for every child is not something I find easy. 

The gained time in the final term is an opportunity for me to address this issue, after all - a tidy room, a tidy mind! I begin by having a huge clear out of recyclable materials. Each year, folders upon folders of out of date worksheets, assessment papers and photocopies end up in a huge pile on my classroom floor as I purge my classroom of its unnecessary bumf. I address the books and stationery: first removing any broken, empty or useless stationery, before organising and ordering all workbooks, banishing any which won’t be required in September to a cupboard. None of this seems remotely possible with the usual heaps of marking to do and as such, is always left for gained time.

2) Share some good practice
Gained time is also a fantastic way to get involved with your colleagues in a way you rarely get a chance to. From working with the technology department to create European inspired recipes to having pupils design and create 3d models of the Louvre and presenting to them the class, take advantage of having a little more freedom with your planning.  It can be a great segue into dropping in on your colleagues and observing and sharing good practice with one another. The pressure of exams and revision should be off (or at least reduced) and you can visit one another with the sole purpose of experiencing and enjoying your colleagues’ best practice.  

3) Get ready to hit September strong
If you’re inclined to procrastinate, once the pupils have left, throw out your timetable and write yourself a new one. Plan in when you’re doing the things on your list and ensure you stick to it, it’s a good way to keep productive and ensure all of the things you won’t find time to do in September really do get done.

If you need to contact an agency about a potential trip for after half term, ring them on Tuesday in 5th period when you’d normally have year 11; if you know you need to photocopy the exams for your year 10 mocks and always run out of time - use that Monday morning double where you’d usually have had that class. 

There is a whole wealth of things teachers don’t get time to do and this is the time to really get stuck in. Do as many menial but necessary jobs during this quieter time as possible and make sure that you can hit the ground running in September and have a very well-earned rest over the Summer. 

Rose is the content writer at OneStep CPD and provides support to Twinkl customers as part of the TwinklCares team. She taught French and English in Derbyshire for 4 years.

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