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Pride, Pay, and Learning: Do these matters to teachers in their job? (This and other weekly findings...)

9 November 2021

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1. How easy is it being green?

After a week of COP26 and everyone worrying about the environment, it was time to find out how much schools might be contributing by having 500,000 teachers travelling there each day!

Given the spread of schools all across the country, often in places far away from public transport, it’s not surprising to find that around 80% of you travel to work by car, though a further 8% of you walk.

London is the only ‘entirely city’ region so it’s also not a shock to find that it has the lowest number of drivers – but, even there, over half of teachers arrive by their own four wheels. Just 17% take the tube and 12% cycle.

Some schools offer incentives to encourage a greener method of travel. One in three schools offers a cycle-to-work scheme which reduces the cost of bikes for staff. And those schools do have much higher rates of cycling, with staff in those four times more likely to travel by bike than in a school without a cycle-to-work scheme. (Of course, it might be that because more staff travel by bike that’s why the school introduced the scheme – but, in any case, it seems like it can’t hurt to try it out!)

With the best will in the world, there are still many mitigating factors that may stop you from cycling into your classroom. Weather, lack of shower facilities and good cycle paths commonly put people off. Furthermore, you carry lots of stuff!

Over 50% of teachers carry at least one heavy rucksack to work on at least one day per week, making cycling all the more difficult. And 28% of primary teachers are carrying several heavy bags!

If cycling isn’t possible, what about other options? At present just 2% of schools offer season ticket loans for public transport and only 1% offer a scheme to swap your car for an electric alternative and 3% have electric charging points. With all the changes needed to solve the climate crisis, there may be more pressure to change these soon.

2. Carbon Dioxide Monitors

Speaking of carbon issues… remember when “ventilation” was the phrase on the lips of those in education? Carbon dioxide monitors were the item of the month, with a promise they would identify classrooms with poor ventilation.

Yet it turns out that the promised 300,000 carbon dioxide monitors haven’t fully materialised. At the end of September, 86% of teachers said their classroom didn’t have a CO2 monitor in it. A month later, the picture has changed – but only slightly. That 86% has now been reduced to 81%.

Secondary schools seem to be in a better place than primary schools. 17% of secondary teachers said that their classroom had a monitor in – up from 9% last month. On the other hand, only 7% of primary teachers reported themselves in the same position.

Carbon dioxide monitor or not, you’re still worried about Covid heading into winter. We’ve been tracking teachers’ apprehensions about Covid since the start of the pandemic and the percentage of you worried about it has never dropped below 80%.

Even now, in November 2021, 84% of you remain worried that either you or people you love will get sick from Covid. Teachers in their 20s report slightly fewer worries than other teachers, however.

3. What do you want children to leave school with?

In any debate about education policy, the tendency always bends towards someone asking “but what is the PURPOSE of education?” The problem is that not everyone agrees!

We asked tappers to pick the THREE outcomes they would have their students leave with, even if no others could be achieved. On social media there was much surprise that exam grades came almost bottom!

Above all, Primary teachers selected respect, self-confidence and giving students essential life skills as the three biggest outcomes they wanted to leave students with.

This was broadly shared among secondary teachers too – with the addition of wanting to share a love of the subject(s) they teach.

Just 14% of secondary school teachers rank a good exam grade in their top three outcomes for students. Similarly, just 7% of you said that providing students with the skills they need for their working lives were important.

4. What do YOU get out of your job?

But what do you leave schools with each and every day?

Co-founder Laura once heard a podcast which suggested that people need three things to love being in a job: to be proud of what they do, to be learning new things, and to be paid well. Most people will put up with just two of those. But once they get to one, or none, that’s when workers start looking for the door.

Is that true for teachers?

Hearteningly, over three-quarters of tappers are proud of their work and over half say are learning a lot in their role. Pay is less heartening, though secondary teachers and headteachers do quite better on this score.

But does this translate into people thinking about leaving? It appears that it does!

We added up the scores, giving one point for each statement that people agreed with. If a tappster clicked all three statements (pay, learning and pride) they were given a ‘high satisfaction’ score of 3. If they agreed with two statements, they received a score of 2, and so on.

Then we cross-tabbed with recent questions about whether or not you see yourself as a teacher in three years’ time. Look at the difference!

90% of people who agreed with all the pride, pay and learning statements said they think they will still teach in three years’ time, compared to just 76% of those who clicked one statement, and 72% who clicked none.

It’s not a perfect measure. Unlike the podcasts suggestion, a large chunk of people who have none of these things in their job are nevertheless expecting to stay. But it gives a hint as to what underlies some turnover within the profession.

Finally… we know you love the daily read, so here are the ones from last week

The most read tip this week was: How mini-whiteboards can be impactful in your school!

And here are the rest for your reference: