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Not another one! New Prime Minister, inflation worries and a gaze into a crystal ball 🔮

1 November 2022

Did you spot that we’ve launched our Golden Tickets for Teacher Tapp Prize Draws in November, December and January? The prize draws get bigger as the winter progresses, starting at £750 in November and rising to £3,000 in January. Get tapping – you’ll receive a Golden Ticket every time you’ve answered 50 questions over the season. Your Golden Tickets roll-up over time, which means your tapping in November still counts for the January draw!

A top tip to make sure you qualify: Inside the app, click on Settings and User profile and check that your school details are up-to-date. You’ll need to be teaching in a school in England to qualify for the prize. We’ll be checking you work there by asking you send an email to us from your work email address, so if it isn’t correct then you can’t receive a prize. Terms and conditions can be found here.

Now, onto our findings…

1. The Education Secretary Mambo Number 5

The dance of the Education Secretaries continues – Gillian Keegan is our FIFTH in four months! Let’s hope she brings some stability to this rocky pinnacle of the education system. It’s safe to say that Kit Malthouse’s tenure wasn’t particularly memorable – only 47% of you could remember his name when asked. Furthermore, his tenure wasn’t particularly long enough for any of you to be ‘very sad’ to see him go.

The merry-go-round appears to have consolidated teachers’ support for Labour. 64% of you say you would now vote Labour if there was an election tomorrow. Labour’s new voters appear to be coming from Liberal Democrat and Greens, with Conservative-voting teachers remaining at just 4%.

In further good new for the Labour Party, the generational divide that had prevented them from taking power is beginning to close, at least among teachers. Older teachers in their 40s and 50s were far more unhappy with the idea of a Corbyn-led Labour government, but have now returned to the idea of voting Labour again.

2. Money’s too tight to not mention

Regardless of who is in power, running the schooling system won’t be easy for anyone. 62% of teachers now say that funding is now the Number 1 issue facing schools. School finances have been increasingly tricky as schools have faced real-terms funding cuts since 2010. Even in 2019, 61% of headteachers said they would need to run a deficit that year. For 2022/23, a massive 77% of heads plan to run a deficit.

What can schools do when their reserves run out? Teacher shortages mean they can’t easily switch into cheaper, inexperienced staff, so they have to look to the people who aren’t standing in front of a class of 30 quite so much. We have heard in the news a lot about possible teaching assistant cuts, but less about what might happen to senior leaders who currently have reduced timetables to carry out other duties. Can they be cut without damaging education?

It depends who you ask, of course.

Whilst members of SLT themselves feel schools would be damaged if they were no longer carrying out their roles, quite a few non-SLT classroom teachers feel differently. Overall, 43% of non-SLT teachers agree that SLT could be reduced at their own school! This view is most prevalent in the secondary phase.

Should we ask more questions to find out what sorts of things schools could stop doing? Let us know your question ideas via ‘Contact us’ in Settings on the app.

Financial pressures are affecting households as much as schools with 82% of teachers saying that inflation is now causing financial pressures in their own household. It is no surprise to learn that those of you who are raising children without another adult in the household are feeling their pressure the most.

3. Part-time teaching

Part-time working is uniquely complex for teaching. In the primary phase it means sharing a class with another teacher. In the secondary phase, juggling a timetable to accommodate whole days off work is a huge logistical challenge. A majority of those of you in non-SLT classroom teacher roles believe that your headteacher would not be able to accommodate any flexible working request.

We know that male teachers are far more likely to make it to headship, in part because they experience less career disruption through parental leave and part-time working. Do they have different sets of beliefs about part-time working? Yes, they seem to! They are more likely to believe that a request for part-time working would be rejected. This doesn’t mean it actually would be rejected of course, but rather that they believe it would be rejected. Does this make them less likely to consider it as an option?

Male classroom teachers are also more likely to believe that working part-time would damage their future career prospects. They may be saying this because they have career aspirations that they feel are incompatible with part-time working, whereas female teachers would prefer to stay in classroom based roles.

4. Can you imagine…

Often, we can see more gender differences when we ask classroom teachers about their career aspirations. Male teachers are far more likely to want to become a senior leader or headteacher, whereas female classroom teachers are more likely to want to stay in less well-paid classroom roles.

There is something else in responses to this question that worries us a little.

The proportion of classroom teachers who aspire to a senior leader role seems to be falling a little each time we ask the question, from 34% when we first asked in 2019, to 29% now. Leading a school has been incredibly difficult over the past few years, and the worry is that this may discourage teachers to step up to leadership in the future.

Last week, there were new proposals to allow teachers to take sabbaticals for long service – is it something you’d like to do? Taking a year off to study for a Masters or similar qualification was the top pick amongst teachers, but only just! However, different groups of you had very different priorities!

Generations of teachers are in radically different positions with respect to student debt. The oldest teachers mostly would have paid no fees for their first degree, many would have accessed maintenance grants to cover living costs, and had fees paid for teacher training. By contrast, the youngest teachers face a persistent graduate tax on their income so it is understandable that many would want this debt cleared.

The option to travel to other countries to work in and study their schools was the most popular option amongst those who don’t have the ties of school-aged children at home. Whilst working at the Department for Education was the least popular option, one-in-five headteachers found this idea interesting.

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

The most-read tip in the past week was: 11 facts about Gillian Keegan – the newest Education Secretary!

And here’s the rest for your reference: