Having that Great Half Term Holiday!

Jasmin Choudhury

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

That half term holiday is finally here! Summer – did we even have summer holidays? Yup that is what it feels like! Summer feels a million miles away and Autumn with its dark days, chilly nights and frosty mornings is well into gear.

Although, weather wise in the UK this year, it hasn’t been too bad.! You are probably exhausted and the final week before the half term holiday will seem the longest ever. But hang in there!

Prepping carefully in advance for the week after half term will be crucial if you wish to have a great holiday.

Firstly, tray to avoid coming in during your holiday – that is even if you are a senior leader. Come in if it is unavoidable! Usually half term is when premises officers become very busy again with those urgent jobs that need doing before winter and Christmas set in.

Also, don’t leave planning and sorting resources to do over your half term holiday as it takes over your much needed holiday and you come back not as rested as you would like.

Get any assessments done and marked!

If you are teaching in an outcomes year group, e.g. Y6 you should have done your practice tests and assessments for the Autumn 1 data sweep two weeks before the half term holiday. The reason I suggest this is that it allows you to mark and feedback to pupils and relevant staff.

Furthermore, it also gives you time to input data and complete any data analyses. Meet with your team and assess and review the data and impact of interventions and implement new ones. Check which pupil is making the accelerated progress you want and whether any key groups of children stick out and identify their next steps.

teachers walking and talking-1

Address the issues and share with senior leaders and relevant staff e.g. attendance and punctuality officers if particular pupils are absent or late a lot. Meet with staff and parents and carers to share your concerns and suggested actions. They will need to know and besides you want things to hit the ground running straight after the holidays.

Planning and Prepping!

As I said, try to avoid coming in during the holidays. Some people do come in and it is entirely up to them. However, the half term holiday is short and before you know it, it is gone. Try to get all your planning done for the first week back including photocopying and printing resources. Straight after half term, assessment weeks and mocks usually loom and excellent teaching and learning is paramount.

If you are an NQT or new to the school, you should know your way round by now and have made connections with people who can help you. Get lessons planned and resourced so that your first official half term and your holidays as a teacher is work free!

Get everything marked!

Check your exercise books and ensure everything is marked and children have responded to the feedback preferably before the last day of term. Yes, you are exhausted and think you can do it by coming in at half term or at home. However, it sometimes takes longer and again, by doing this, you will be able to have that relaxing holiday.

man relaxing

Sort the classroom!

Get your classroom tidy and get any new learning walls and displays done before the last day of term. Even if you have an INSET on the first day back after the holidays, get as much done as possible. It gets dark quickly in November and trust me, those first few weeks after the half term are usually exhausting and most teachers want to rush home. Also, record any job that need doing and notify the premise officers and managers as they use the half term to get things done.

Last day of Autumn 1 Term!

The last day will draw near quickly! Aim to leave by 4.30pm the latest. No one will begrudge you as everyone will want to do the same. Check that everything is done and your resources and planning are ready for the first week back and any last minute emails.

Talk to the children about things they can do over half term. For some, it can be a difficult and stressful time as school offers structure and can be a haven of peace and life at home may not be idyllic. Usually, those vulnerable children tend to play up. Chat to them and ensure they have reading books and identify some useful websites they can use to keep them occupied.

"With mental health and well-being among children being a hot topic, our job is to show them how to prioritise, get rest and relaxation and still excel and achieve all at the same time."

In addition, talk about local events that are preferably free that are happening and young people can attend. Give homework but be easy on it. They are exhausted too-like you. Try to give homework that involves less marking and more learning. E.g. having to visit a museum or collect and observe the sights and sounds of Autumn. You will be surprised how many children are not aware of seasonal changes especially if they are inner city pupils.

friends laughing

If you have pupils in Y6, Y11 and 13, I guess there has to be homework but try to be measured. 

You may want to discuss what you are doing over half term and may be going away or you may not. It is good for children to know that you have another life! It’s good for them to know that during the half term, teachers also do mundane things like going to the dentist or opticians and paint our fences.

4pm hits and half term hols have started! Get your bag and coat ready -you may wish to go out to the pub or for a coffee with friends and colleagues or just head home earlier than expected. It doesn’t matter.

Be ready to spend it with loved ones and friends. It’s your time and your holiday-so make sure you enjoy it!



About our Community Expert


Jasmin Choudhury
Community Expert

Jasmin has extensive experience of working in a variety of settings which have included being recruited to work schools in special measures and concern as well as outstanding.

Jasmin has been qualified as a teacher for over 20 years and has been a Deputy Head, working mainly in some of the most deprived and challenging schools in the UK.

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