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Preparing for summer break

Winding down at the end of the year is something that you and your pupils have to do. These tips discuss the need to plan the lightening of both you and your pupils workload as the summer break approaches.

Give your pupils something new

In secondary, senior pupils will think that now they've got through the exams they're due some light relief. If you move on to the next year's timetable early you'll start the new curriculum with exam weary pupils. Try to pace new information, making sure there's something different so they feel there are new challenges.

Be firm but fair in the last few weeks

With only a few weeks of term left, you can taste the cold, white wine and imagine those sandy beaches...but don't let your pupils see you relax. They're in the same position and will begin to resent these final days before they can retreat into their dark bedrooms, cybersurfing to their hearts content. Try to introduce lessons that are moving the curriculum on but have a light touch to them.

A change in lesson format can be as good as a DVD

Pupils today are more media savvy than ever. Try to open up your lessons to get pupils talking to each other, sharing experiences, talking about themselves and their hopes. Not all pupils like being up front so it could happen in small groups. Not all end of term activity ends up in front of DVD player.

Choose the end of term DVD with care

You are responsible for the pupils in front of you. Whilst you see Arnold Schwarzenegger films as classic examples of a particular genre, parents can see them as mindless violence. Stick with Wallace and Grommit.

Reflect on the year

The end of term is a good time for you to become the reflective practitioner. Think back to what has happened in the year and if you could've approached things differently. Don't fall into the trap of thinking too negatively about things: you're term weary and tired so try to remember the positive days, there really were lots of them!

Have a spring clean

The end of term is affectionately known as "black bag day", a chance to clean out your room, get filing, ready for the new term. Don't do this at the start of term or put it off. You'll be shocked about how many pieces of paper you've collected, how many of your sets of lesson sheets are out of their sets and what horrors are in your desk drawers.

Think about your pupils' feelings

Some pupils live for school and are unhappy at home or with the thought of too much time ahead of them over the summer. They may hate school but it's their only real contact with people, giving them a structure in their lives. Don't go on too loudly about how great it will be to have a break.