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How many hours MUST teachers work for education to be excellent? (This, and other findings...)

1 February 2022

Before we dive into this week’s results – we have a quick request from the data team at Teacher Tapp 👩‍💻!

If you haven’t already added your school to your profile please do so! (You can do this by heading to the Menu > User Profile > Choose your school).

Don’t worry – we don’t use the school information to learn anything about you. We use the information about your school’s free school meal quartile and size to help understand how teachers between different schools vary.

Now, onto results!

Jump to section:

1. Does working long hours make a good teacher?

A teacher on Twitter asked whether people believe that teachers can provide quality education while working for less than 45 hours per week. Their focus was on primary teachers only, but we asked all of you to see if there were any differences.

Just 39% of primary teachers said it was possible to provide excellent quality of education while working for less than 45 hours per week. Secondary teachers were slightly more lenient, with 49% agreeing.

All of which suggests that while there is a push to reduce workload (and working hours), there is at least a psychological perception of how low that could go.

And what do actual hours worked look like? Last week, 41% of you worked over 50 hours in the last week. Primary teachers reported working for the longest time last week, with 45% of primary teachers and 38% of secondary teachers clocking in over 50 hours last week.

The number of hours you are actually working does seem to influence whether you believe it’s possible to provide an excellent education on fewer work hours. The more hours you worked, the more likely you were to ‘strongly disagree’ that the low hours limit was possible.

(Nb:The group “Fewer than 20 hours” contains some part-time staff – hence their results are a little different)

When it comes to reducing workload, this is always going to be something the profession has to bear in mind. Do people believe it’s possible? And if not, why not? There’s more stuff to figure out here for sure!

2. How’s term going?

Omicron has been playing havoc with lots of classes, especially in primary schools – likely due to the fact that most primary pupils haven’t been vaccinated.

Therefore, it’s no surprise to see that primary teachers are the most pessimistic about whether they can finish their curriculum this year. A third of primary teachers say they are not on track.

Secondary teachers are more optimistic, 84% say they are likely to finish.

But maths teachers are the least confident – with a quarter of maths teachers saying there is a good chance they won’t complete their curriculum.

Primary teachers were also the most likely to think that their curriculum is unrealistic to start with – a third of primary teachers say that the curriculum is unrealistic for most of their class.

AND the more unrealistic you think the curriculum is for your class – the more likely you are to feel off track with it. (Or possibly, the relationship runs the other way?!)

75% of teachers who think their curriculum is realistic are on track to finish it this year, whereas just 13% of teachers who don’t think their curriculum is realistic are on track to complete.

Which comes first do we think?

And here’s how the realism of the curriculum breaks down across the phases…

3. School Visitors

One the things we often hear teachers say is that they feel a lot of their actions are being done: ‘just for the purpose of looking good’.

So we checked in this week to see how many of you agree. Note: there is a huge difference between classroom teachers and headteachers.

We’ve seen this sort of pattern before. Heads often have quite a different view of their school to teachers – and it’s not necessarily surprising or problematic. If you spend your day in a classroom versus moving around a school your experience of a school is very different. But given this is about intention, which arguably doesn’t change based on experience, it’s not clear why there’s such a big difference.

A follow-up question for us may be to ask leaders what they feel activity is driven by? Any ideas, let us know on Twitter or via Contact Us in the app.

Teacher Tapp mentions in the wild 📣

A critical aspect of you answering questions on Teacher Tapp is that it unlocks research that gets shared with you on the app, but also goes out into the wild and knocks ministers, policymakers and other decision people upside the head with your views!

Here are a few mentions we had in the press over the past week.

😷 Read how we worked with the Sutton Trust to help inform the level of staff absences in the first weeks of the term:

🏃 How long will it take pupils to catch up post-pandemic?

Other stories include:

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

The most read tip from the past week was: How to set up “Do Now” activities!

And here are the rest for your reference: