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election ballot

How would teachers vote in a General Election?

25 February 2019

First, a huge thank you to the Teacher Tapp community. Last week we had a record number of 3,414 daily poll tappsters.

To make sure that even more teachers are getting their voices heard, and that we are getting better representation from smaller groups (eg, non-core subject teachers, or those with AP/special expertise) we are now on a drive for five thousand teachers. Please do spread the word by tweeting, sharing results, and cajoling colleagues. Remember: they can learn something new every day from the app. (Plus there are free book tokens)…

Now, time for the findings of the week …

Teacher voting behaviours are in turmoil!

After the news that MPs were leaving the Labour and Conservative Party in order to set up a new party, named The Independent Group, we decided to poll our tappsters and check their feeling on what was going on.

This was not our first political rodeo. Last year, we asked teachers to tell us how they voted in the 2017 election. Back then, the split was 60% Labour and 12% Conservative.

Survey of ~2,500 teachers in September 2018

This week, our cohort was bigger (3,317) and slightly less likely to say they voted Labour back in 2017 – but the reds were still way ahead.

Back in September, things didn’t look great for Labour, with only 47% saying they would continue to vote for the party if an election was held the next day. But things looked even worse for the Conservatives who collapsed down to 9%.

Survey taken in September 2018 by ~2,500 teachers

Now, the new Independent Party is shifting the landscape…

Labour are down to just 20%, witha preference for the new group, despite the fact that they don’t yet have any policies or a unified philosophy. Teachers, it seems, don’t know what they do want but they seem to be happy to register a vote simply because they know what they don’t want!

Note also the continued collapse of the Conservative vote, down to 5% from 14%. The Conservatives haven’t been a popular election choice for teachers for a while now, but teachers are a LARGE group, (there’s 500,000 of you), so if the Conservatives cannot win some back, this is a problem!

The ‘I Don’t Know’ group is also large. And they are important. Political polls often have a large group in this category. In the past, most have gone back to the party that they previously voted for, and so pollsters often build this into their predictive models. Of those who voted Conservative last time, 45% are now Don’t Knows. Among Labour voters in 2017, 38% are now don’t know. So there’s some leeway for the Conservatives to make greater gains.

However, it also looks as if the Independent Party is as big a threat to the Conservative Party as to Labour. (At least among teachers).

Survey of 3,314 teachers on 23 February 2018

One reason for this might be the preference of older teachers, who are typically more Conservative than younger teachers, for the new Independent Group.

However, Labour also ought to be cautious in believing that ‘the young’ are definite fans. While younger teachers do have a greater preference for the Labour party, it seems to disappear by around the age of 30. And there are a lot of teachers in the 30+ group!

Of course, the political situation is very new and constantly changing. With Brexit decisions just weeks away things will continue to move and fast. But the data we’ve been building does show a picture of a teaching profession with an appetite for change.

Some more results!

1. The Mystery of Academic Research

When teachers are asked, ‘do you read academic journal articles?’ almost all will say they do. Thirty-three percent say they do so ‘frequently’, while an additional 45% say they do so on occassion.

BUT: how are they accessing these articles?

Only 23% of teachers have a password giving access to academic journals. Given most academic journals are paywalled and need a log-in via an academic institution – how is this possible?

Are the 23% illicitly providing copies to the rest? Are a few open-access journals dominating the reading? What do you think? Email, tweet, or send us your thoughts via the feedback button the app.

2. If you want access to the toilet, be a headteacher

In teaching, you can’t go to the bathroom when you want. Is the struggle real? Yes, the majority of teachers say they struggle to find time to visit the bathroom as needed.

This remained true for almost everyone except secondary headteachers. So, if you want to make sure you have good access to the lav as your career progresses, you know what role to aim for.

3. What are the young drinking?!

To ensure no important of the teaching world is uncovered, we regularly ask questions about the true powerhouse of schools: tea and coffee supplies.

But look! There’s a strange trend among younger teachers…

18% of teachers in their 20s don’t drink caffeine and neither do 13% of those in their 30s. (This drops to 6% once people are in their 40s).

I know this is a leap but… *whispers*… do we think the healthy schools agenda might actually have worked? All that making kids drink water in their teens has actually had a lasting effect? Best keep it quiet, or we’ll have Jamie Oliver on the telly taking credit anytime now…

Finally, we know you love the tips, so here are last week’s…

Ben White’s experiment that changed his teaching

Six ways visual aids can help learning (Caviglioli)

Ben Gordon’s speedy symbol marking strategy

Chris Runeckles: Talking Positively

Revision testing schedules are better than pupils’ own schedules

Homework: What does the research say about its effectiveness?

That’s it for the week! Enjoy the rest of yours 🙂