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Encouraging potential teachers, sticky workload and essential creativity

15 August 2023

Encouraging potential teachers?

This week, we repeated a question we’ve been asking since 2018: would you encourage a high-achieving and friendly pupil to become a teacher.

The encouraging news: 70% of you would encourage them, and just 7% of you would discourage them.

The discouraging news: the proportion of tappers who would encourage their pupil has fallen since 2018, when we first asked this. Strength of belief has fallen too: just 23% of you would be ‘very encouraging’, as opposed to 35% five years ago.

We’ve seen similar trends elsewhere. In April, for example, we reported on the question ‘If you could go back in time, would you still train to be a teacher?’ The proportion of you who were ‘certain’ you would had fallen from 42% in 2018 to just 23% in 2023.

We couldn’t think of a light-hearted way to end this segment of the blog, so we’ll just reassure you that we’ll keep asking, keep listening, and keep sharing your responses, in the hope that someone, somewhere, will do something useful to address your concerns sometime.

Cutting workload?

What could possible mean you’re discouraging pupils from becoming teachers? Apropos of nothing, we asked whether your school had done anything in the last 12 months to substantially reduce teacher workload.

We last asked this in 2019. That year:

  • 39% of you said the school had reviewed the marking and feedback policy – this year, the figure has fallen to 27%.
  • 24% of you said the school had reduced data drops – this year, that’s fallen to 15%.
  • 37% of you said the school hadn’t done anything to reduce workload – this year, that’s risen to 42%.

So what’s going on? Cutting marking and data was big in 2019, and once you’ve cut data drops, you may feel you don’t have scope to do the same again. But it’s interesting to see the proportion of you saying nothing’s being done has risen – is workload reduction falling out of fashion?

Not if you’re a headteacher! Welcome back to our old friend, the gap between policies as envisaged by heads, and policies as experienced by teachers. Half of teachers – 49% – said nothing had been done to reduce workload in the last year – but only 8% of heads agreed. Meanwhile, half of heads said they’d altered the marking policy – just 24% of classroom teachers agreed.

Maybe the first step to workload reduction is for heads to find out what staff are really thinking (there’s a Tapp for that – our School Surveys).

Essential creativity?

We asked some user-suggested questions about creativity last week. First, we asked whether creativity is an essential part of your subject/phase. The subject breakdown was instructive – if unsurprising. Under 10% of maths, science and humanities teachers strongly agreed creativity was essential – whereas over 90% of arts teachers strongly agreed, alongside 42% of EYFS/KS1 teachers and 29% of English teachers.

Interestingly however, while most arts teachers agreed they had the skills and knowledge to develop creative thinking in their students, EYFS/KS1 and English teachers were much less likely to agree strongly.

Gotta have faith (schools)?

If the government were to open 100 new schools, what proportion should be allowed to be faith schools? Almost half of you (45%) said none – while 27% said all could be. We’re intrigued to see this big split between the secular and religious (or libertarian) wings of the teaching community!

Remember my name (fame)?

Almost two thirds of you have seen a former pupil in the last month – over 20% of you have seen one in the last week. And for the vast majority of you – over three quarters – that was a positive experience. Remembering their name proved tough though: only 71% of primary teachers and 60% of secondary teachers remembered it straight away – although more of you then managed to remember it ‘eventually’, and for a few of you, the pupil was kind enough to offer a reminder.

Ups and Downs

On the rise

📈 Degree-level apprenticeships. We asked what you would have chosen to do, had you finished secondary school this year. The percentage of tappers saying they’d have done a degree-level apprenticeship was up from 12% this time last year to 19% this year.

Heading down

📉 Enthusiasm for promotion. We asked if you would want a promoted post, if you could be financially secure ‘just’ teaching. In 2019, 48% of you would still want a promotion – this year, it’s down to 41%.

And finally…

The most read tip this week was on: Should headteachers be proud to be the worst teacher in the school?

And here are the rest for your reference: