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What Teachers Tapped This Week #5 - 16th October 2017

16 October 2017

This week we hit almost 1,200 users in one day!

This growth is down to you sharing the app via word-of-mouth. So, thank you! Our results are getting more and more sophisticated because of this.

To help you spread the word even more effectively we’ve created:

Feel free to download and use at staff briefings, CPD sessions, your children’s birthday party, at bus shelters, etc…

(Also, please keep sending us your feedback on what else would help you share the word, via twitter or email).

Right, what cool things did we learn this week? Read on…

1. Who will still be teaching in 3 years’ time?

Teacher surveys regularly show around half of teachers are thinking of leaving the profession in the next few years.

We wanted to see if Teacher Tapp panel had the same profile but we asked in a slightly more positive way: ‘Do you expect to be teaching in 3 years’ time?’

Overall, 73% of teachers said ‘yes’ they were likely to still be teaching in 3 years’ time. This is much higher than expected given previous answers.
But why? One hypothesis is that Teacher Tapp users are more positive about their job than others. However, when we ask about other things – for example, satisfaction with hours, levels of behaviour problems, or workload – we find substantial levels of unhappiness. Teacher Tappers therefore don’t seem overly happy, even if we can presume there is some bias in who decides to take part (which is the case for all surveys).
A second hypothesis, posited by Dr James Shea (@englishspecial) on twitter, is that an over-representation of senior leaders in the sample might have caused the positivity.  We tested to see if this was true and found that classroom teachers are marginally more uncertain about their future in the classroom, but almost the same proportion of teachers said they would ‘probably not’ still be in the job across all levels of seniority.

From what we have found so far, we should perhaps take heart from the fact so many teachers see their career in the classroom extending into the future. What will get really interesting is whether this view changes over the year. Stay tuned!

2. Private school facilities may not be as fancy as you think…

School buildings are often old and difficult to maintain, especially those built immediately after WWII. The cash for rejuvenating such buildings has been squeezed of late, and the cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future in 2010 left many aged facilities facing a tough (and dilapidated) future.
Should politicians pour cash into the physical condition of schools? We asked about your buildings and found that:

Primary school teachers seem happy with their classroom (80% very/moderately satisfied);

But secondary schools could do with a boost. Around a third of secondary teachers (30%) were dissatisfied with their physical conditions.

This is not a great situation. However, private school teachers recorded similar rates of unhappiness!

While the public image of independent schools may be of fabulous playing fields and fancy classrooms, around a quarter of teachers there are also dissatisfied with their conditions. Perhaps their expectations are higher, but it should be a point of pride for local government, school leaders, dioceses and (more recently) central government, that they’ve managed to keep most buildings in comparable nick.

3. The nearer you get to a pot of gold, the bigger you want it to be…

Chief executives of multi-academy trusts are paid wildly varying amounts. The highest paid, Sir Dan Moynihan, receives over £400,000 per year for heading the Harris Federation. This puts his salary cost at around £15 per pupil in a good or outstanding school. Other trust leads earn less than £5 per pupil.

In response, some MPs have called for limits to academy chief pay.
So, what did the Teacher Tapp panel think should be the maximum salary of a CEO?

Overall, the most common answer was £100,000. But it varies depending on the respondent’s job.

Classroom teachers and middle leaders typically selected a cap of £100,000 or under. Only a tiny proportion – 10% or less – felt a salary of £300,000 upwards was acceptable.

Senior leaders suggested much higher limits. Over half of assistants and deputies said the salary cap should be £1 million, or none at all. Heads were slightly less likely to pick a salary of a £1,000,000 as a cap, but were much more likely to suggest no limits at all.

This difference in opinion may show why governing bodies are agreeing to high salaries even though teachers would not. Trustees of academy trusts are increasingly made up of people with senior leadership experience, either in academies, or in other business organisations. From our sample, it seems that people who have leadership positions also have more generous attitudes towards salaries. If this experience is replicated across governing body members we are likely to see them signing off on large salaries, even if teachers would not agree with them.
On the other hand, it is also worth pondering if an expectation of £100,000 or less is realistic. Third Sector, a trade magazine for charitable organisations, recently looked at pay across groups similar to trusts and found healthcare charities paying £850,000 to top executives. Across the top 100 charities in Britain, chief executive average pay was £210,000 — some way north of £100,000.
Senior leaders may be more liberal with ideas on chief executive pay, but perhaps they are also more realistic.

4. They can never take our freedom! (Or can they?)

It is 22 years since Mel Gibson painted his face and made us all cry about the plight of Scotland.

But, when it comes to freedom – which schools do the best?

Here’s what we learned:

Point 1: If you want freedom, you’re better off teaching in a private school

Point 2: If you want freedom in the state sector, teach in a Special School or Alternative Provision

No one is likely to be shocked that independent school teachers are more free than state ones. That teachers in alternative provision and special settings feel so liberated is interesting, however. Especially as the two groups have very different Ofsted profiles. Special schools are the most likely to be outstanding. Pupil referral units are the least likely to be outstanding. Freedom may therefore not correlate with performance. But if you are seeking a place with less micro-managed teaching, you know where to look.

5. Teachers want to debate!

Many teachers have passions outside of school and using them in their professional life might be a way to keep interest in the job.

So, partly out of intrigue, and partly so we could get a sense of interests, we asked the Teacher Tapp panel about the extra-curricular activities they would most like to run.

Sports clubs and debating dominated, but ‘knitting or craft’ snuck into third place! Time for a sewing club renaissance? If you fancy it, it looks like you’re not alone. Maybe see if anyone else wants to buddy up and join you in running it together!

6. One thing we didn’t learn this week… ?

Remember that fabulous question about whether or not you would work at a free school? Yeah, we were excited about it too. Unfortunately a bug got in the system and played a bit of havoc with that question. ??

Never fear! We are figuring out what happened and we will ask again in future.

Big thank you to everyone who flagged the issue and helped us investigate. This is why we love you, Beta-testers. Your patience is our bounty.

 7. Finally, we know you really really like the Teacher Tapp tips – so here are the links for last week:

Until next time!


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