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Does a 3-year GCSE course make it easier for schools to catch-up? (And 4 more interesting findings...)

30 June 2020

Welcome to our Tuesday round-up of last week’s findings! We’re shifting from the usual publication date of Monday so that Becky doesn’t have to spend her Sunday evenings pulling out charts and because Tuesdays are a rubbish day otherwise, so we wanted to inject some light into it!

1. Right, who is back in school?

Nearly all primary schools are now open to Years R, 1 and 6, though the South and Midlands remain ahead on opening rates.

Whilst many teachers are now back working in schools, many students remain at home EVEN where they have been asked to return. Schools in disadvantaged areas still have the greatest problems in persuading children to return. The good news is that the return rates of Years 10 and 12 in secondary are better than primary return rates and the social gradient of returners is not so pronounced in secondary schools either.

2. The race to finish the GCSE course

There is still a great deal of uncertainty about when 2021 GCSE exams will take place, and whether their format will be identical. We asked how concerned you were about getting all of the needed teaching done in time to prepare students for their exams. The differences across varying types of schools are very stark.

Fee-paying schools, where ‘live’ lessons were most likely offered online, seem very confident they can complete on time. By contrast, 57% of teachers in secondaries in the most deprived areas feel it is unlikely you can make up for lost time and complete all content.

What about schools who started their GCSE courses in Year 9? Several teachers on social media suggested they would have an advantage here. We’ve asked about the length of your KS4 in the past, so we can check if the people most confident about finishing on time are doing a 3-year GCSE course.

Given that disadvantaged schools are more likely to run a longer KS4 (to give their students more time on the materials), we are showing the results for each FSM quartile. Contrary to expectation, there isn’t much difference at all in the length of your GCSE courses and whether you feel confident in completing on time.

3. Has COVID-19 made you want to quit your job?

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy for teachers. You haven’t been able to do the one thing most of you are well-qualified to do… run a classroom full of students. On the face of it, we were worried that about a quarter of you are saying this pandemic is making you more likely you’ll seek to leave the profession or reduce your hours.

However, here at Teacher Tapp HQ we aren’t so worried because we ask about your career plans ALL THE TIME and we know that from time-to-time many of you have career regrets or are thinking of leaving the profession.

In fact, we asked three questions during the Christmas holidays about your career prospects and we repeated these again last week. From the results, we can see that those expressing negative COVID-related effects on their job attachment were also much more likely to have expressed negative views about staying in teaching last December (well before the pandemic).

And when we compare responses to the question about whether you EXPECT to be a teacher in three years’ time from April 2019 to April 2020, the proportion saying “Yes, most likely” actually went up a little from 73% to 77%. This is absolutely logical. Given the economic situation and an expected recession, it is very difficult to leave the profession and find alternative work.

4. Moving school this summer?

Last week, your responses contributed to a Gatsby Foundation report on the teacher labour market. Unfortunately, the timing of the school closures has severely affected the ability of schools to hire staff for September.

Initial disruptions meant schools were reluctant to interview teachers remotely. Once schools failed to make appointments, these teachers, in turn, did not give notice in their current roles, so causing dramatic falls in job advertisements.

We compared data on teacher recruitment from last year and this year to show how the pandemic reduced your desire to search for a new role, which means that you are much more likely to be teaching with the same colleagues come September.

The impact of these reduced promotions and school moves might be positive in the short-term since they reduce disruption during these difficult times. However, they may have negative effects longer term. NQTs are struggling to enter the profession for the first time AND more teachers may look to move at Christmas or Easter which is very difficult for heads to manage.

Read more in the full report here.

5. Finally, we know you love the daily reads. Here are last week’s tips

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