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Attendance, time travel and GCSE content...

18 April 2023

FOLKS! We really want to hit the 10,000 answers milestone. In many ways, it’s totally arbitrary. But then is so getting a 100 day streak or a nice round number like 9,500 answers yet those are so satisfying, no?!

To up the excitement, on the first day we hit 10,000 responses, we will draw out of our virtual hat the name of one lucky Tappster who answered questions on that date and you will win:

  • £1,000 CASH for you
  • An unlimited School Survey package for your school
  • AND a year’s supply of tea and coffee for your staffroom!

To be in with a chance of winning, keep Tapping but also encourage your colleagues to get involved so we hit that 10k target – you can read the Terms and Conditions here.

Now, onto results! We will warn you, it’s not been a fun week….

Attendance: What’s happening?

Several tappers have asked about concerns regarding attendance. This is one of those occasions where we don’t need to ask on Teacher Tapp, we know that attendance data is worse across the country right now. In fact, parliament’s Education Committee is so worried they’ve launched an investigation into what’s happening.

On social media, a tapper noted that the figures only show official absence but not the number of kids milling around in school and refusing to go to lessons. For that, we do have some figures.

Back in November we showed how in-lesson behaviour was actually very similar to before the pandemic. However, one behaviour set was showing up as worse – and it was kids turning up to lessons late and being disruptive. As you can see, it’s pulling away a fair bit and, given the other behaviours are the same, suggests there is something strange happening around reluctance to learn in lessons.

Here’s another data point that also may be useful. Back in September 2019, 21% of teachers said that at least one of their pupils was flexi-schooled (i.e. part-time homeschooled). Now, 28% of teachers have at least one pupil flexi-schooled, a substantial increase. Furthermore, in the graph below, the red parts show the percentage of teachers who have 10 or more pupils schooled in this way. That proportion has jumped up since the pandemic.

Indeed, attendance is such a concern that several of you wrote to us and asked why our annual spring questions asking about main school priorities didn’t cover it. A few years ago when we began this question it didn’t even enter our heads to add it. Now, it’s such a key priority that it’s very absence is noticeable.

Unfortunately what we don’t yet have are solutions. The data we have can confirm the problem but it will be sometime before we can identify if there are patterns of the schools (or areas) where things are improving. If you see any good articles giving solutions on this topic do let us know as we’d love to share them in our daily reads. (Send via ‘contact us’ in the settings menu in the app or via twitter @teachertapp).

Would you be a teacher again?

When asked about reasons you became a teacher, many of you speak about your idealism, especially if you entered in the 1990s or 2000s and felt that it was a job with good prospects and which could be managed around family life. Increasingly, that feels harder to achieve which may be the reason for this incredibly worrying statistic.

Now, only 23% of teachers are certain that if they could go back time that they would still train to be a teacher. This is down from 42% in 2018a precipitous and worrying drop when we are facing a global teacher shortage.

In fact, it’s primary teachers for whom this is particularly low – just 21% of primary teachers would train to be a teacher again, compared to 25% of secondary teachers.

GCSE Content

This week, we’ve been asked to check in to see how secondary teachers are finding their GCSE courses this year. It’s been a few years since a ‘normal’ GCSE year, 2019 in fact! Last year, advance information was released for subjects and of course, the two years prior to that relied on alternative grading arrangements!

So May 2019 was the last comparable season. At the time just one-in-three of you said you had managed to complete your GCSE course in time. In 2022, advance information changed a few things. As a result, 43% of you said you had comfortably managed to complete your GCSE course.

Last year, it Languages teachers who felt under the most pressure. This is understandable, given they were the most dissatisfied with their advance information! We’ll be re-asking this question in a couple of weeks to see whether this year in more like last year, or 2019!

And finally…

The most read tip this week was: The latest on Teacher Strikes

And here are the rest for your reference: