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Pay offer, SATs results, independent work and the growth of girls' football

18 July 2023

This blog is a whirlwind tour of disconnected but fascinating findings from the week. Let’s begin with the pay offer…

Pay rise: angry or disappointed?

In March, teachers rejected a 4.5% pay rise and a £1,000 one-off payment. After several more days of NEU strikes, and successful strike ballots from NASUWT, NAHT and ASCL, the government had another search around the back of the sofa and offered a 6.5% pay rise with some more funding to partially cover the difference. So what did you make of it?

You’re happier than last time (which wouldn’t have been difficult) but far from overwhelmed. In March, 89% of teachers told us they would reject the offer. That’s now slipped to just 27%, with 39% in favour and 34% not yet sure.

And while 68% of you said you were angry in March, that’s slipped to 15% now – as we’d expect of teachers, most commonly, you’re no longer angry, you’re just disappointed.

Independent work?

Let’s look at the work you’re being paid so well to do… This week we asked whether your students spend the majority of classroom time working independently. A few things interested us about the results:

  • Men were more likely to have students working independently than women (64% of men agreed, as opposed to 55% of women
  • And this only partially reflects phase differences: (59% of secondary teachers agreed, as opposed to 56% of primary teachers)
  • Arts & DT teachers were most likely to agree their students spend the majority of the time working independently (12% strongly agreed)
  • But Arts & DT teachers were also least likely to agree their students mostly work independently (16% strongly disagreed – behind only special school teachers at 18%)

Presumably arts teachers split passionately – but in different directions – about whether or not art should be a collective or solitary endeavour. But who can explain the gender split? (Answers – carefully-phrased – on a postcard to @teachertapp).

Outsourced SATs results

In 2018, Capita won a £109 million contract to administer SATs from 2020-2024, promising an “enhanced digital solution” which would “provide a more efficient service.” When whispers of problems with the portal reached our ears, we were quick to ask primary school senior leaders if they’d had difficulties accessing results:

  • 54% of school leaders were unable to log on
  • 1% of school leaders had missing marks
  • 7% of school leaders had other problems
  • Just 41% had no problems at all

In 2021, Capita were awarded a £19 million extension to the contract. It now runs until 2025, so hopefully they have time to use their “expertise in digital transformation” to fix the portal.

More girls’ football?

Think back to last year. As the Lionesses roared (the England women’s football team won the Euros, if you missed it somehow) we asked about girls’ football in your schools. The Lionesses wrote to the Tory leadership campaigners (Truss + Sunak, in case you’ve blanked that one out) saying they hoped to build a legacy from their win. So, a year later, what’s changed?

Schools are more likely to have a girls (or mixed) football team. In primary schools, 61% of schools had a girls (or mixed) team last year – this year, it’s 71%. In secondary, it’s up from 72% to 78%. (We should note though, that lots of teachers, particularly in secondary schools, said they weren’t sure.)

You also told us that you see more girls playing football at lunchtime – particularly in primary schools.

Short cuts

  • An impressive 99% of you say you can confidently adapt lesson plans in response to pupil answers and progress (although your degree of confidence grows with experience)
  • Sick days are running high this year (a quarter of you have had four or more days off this year – in 2018 it was just 15% of you) – but lower than last year
  • And finally, as most of you crawl to the end of term, a reminder that school matters: 73% of you said that if you’d attended a different secondary school, your life would have been very different

Ups and Downs

On the rise

📈 62% of teachers say that they have a SENCO as part of their school leadership team, just from 57% last year

📈 63% of current primary teachers say that teaching was their first choice of career, up from 60% in September 2019

Heading down

📉 59% of secondary teachers say their students are working individually the majority of the time, compared to 64% in July 2022

📉 48% of teachers have independently spent time in the summer term improving their instruction, down from 54% last July

And finally…

The most read tip this week was: No more Sir and Miss

And here are the rest for your reference: