There’s a particular academy chain that I work with at the moment where the secondary schools are new builds without staff rooms. There are four or five secondary schools in this chain and not one of them has a place for staff to have a private moment for themselves, to make a phone call or a health appointment, speak to their own family if there is a crisis, or to have a private conversation with another member of staff at any time during the day. They cannot share stories, get support, exchange ideas, get help or let off steam. They might want to say things like “Joe in my class has been a bit difficult this week, do you know what’s going on? How is he in your class?” There’s no space for them to have private conversations away from the children.

I don’t think employers see that staff spaces are necessary; they think that staff should be on duty at all times with the children, so why should they have any time to- what they see as -rest, relax or put their feet up? They think that staff should be seen to be working every moment that they are in the school. I also think they think it’s a dangerous breeding ground for ideas and rebellions, people getting together and getting united. I don’t think they see it as being a necessary space for the staff.