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The return of GCSE exams, school governors and how are teachers' political views shaping up?

31 August 2022

A new school year is fast approaching! We’ve created some downloadable INSET slides to help you spread the Teacher Tapp word among your colleagues 😊 Here’s to Teacher Tapp conversations in the staff room and strengthening the collective voice of teachers 💪

In other Tappsters news this week: all good things must come to an end 😢

After giving away over £250,000 worth of vouchers, the John Catt Book voucher scheme came to its planned end today (31st August 2022). Vouchers can still be used until the 31st December 2022 so don’t panic buy today! (Full Ts & Cs here).

If you’ve any problems redeeming vouchers send us an in-app message via, ‘contact us’ with your voucher codes and the book titles that you’d like to purchase from the Teacher Tapp section of the John Catt website.

For the remainder of autumn, we’re working on a new incentive so watch this space 👀

On to this week’s results…

1. The return of GCSE exams

Last week was GCSE results day! And exams were back. As with A-levels it’s been a challenging couple of years amid TAGs, CAGs and many other acronyms.

The national news on GCSE results was mostly positive for students’ but how was your experience?

In 2020, over a quarter of you sent students their GCSE results remotely to adhere to social distancing measures. With restrictions removed, how did you deliver results this year?

For the vast majority (93%), there was on-site collection for all students (up from 60% in 2020). 

Being on-site created the perfect opportunity for students to express their gratitude. And they did! 92% of you received some form of acknowledgement from students – from high-fives to hugs.

Nonetheless, the data suggests that remote results delivery may remain for some, with 22% of you reporting that your school sent all results remotely.

How did students receive their GCSE grades from your school?

2. How are teachers’ political views shaping up?

How are you feeling about this summer jamboree of Rishi Sunak vs Liz Truss? Are you as bored of it all as we are?

Merrily, the new PM is due to be announced on Monday 5th September. At the start of the campaign, you had Sunak ahead by some way – and we always planned to ask again at the end of the campaign to see if it changed over time.

It had! But, um, not quite in the direction of the Conservative party voters. By the end, Sunak still leads the way at 76%, having gained ground from Truss who has gone from 31% in July to just 24% in August. We fear there will be a lot of disappointed teachers next Monday. 

Who would you prefer as the next Prime Minister? Forced choice! 21.07.22 vs 26.08.22

We also asked about general elections. If there was one tomorrow: how would you vote?

The Sankey Chart below shows how people have changed their minds since we last asked in October 2021. While Labour has always been dominant, you can see that the Conservatives have shed some more, mainly to Labour. Labour has also peeled off a chunk of Greens too. 

Sankey chart showing Teacher Tapp panel vote changes

If you think Labour is always a shoo-in with teachers, however, you can see that’s not always the case. At times, there has been a bit of a collapse, especially around 2019 (the last election). And the Conservatives did hit around 10% back then. It’s now at about 4%.

We don’t have a large sample of Conservative voters, so the numbers below have a fair amount of error margin on them – but you can see that many more Conservatives like Liz Truss than Sunak. But she’s still not winning, even among that group.

As we said above, if she wins, it will be a disappointment to a lot of teachers.

If there was a general election tomorrow, how would you vote? (Across) versus Who would you prefer as the next Prime Minister (down)

3. Who speaks to school governors and how often?

Away from politics and back to schools – what about the people who lead the strategic direction on home turf? School governors often enjoy reading about Teacher Tapp as it gives a window into school life. But how often do teachers get to speak with governors?

Given heads and senior leaders often attend governor meetings, it’s no surprise that 93% talk with a non-staff school governor in the summer term. Just 19% of classroom teachers said the same, however.

When was the last time you discussed school matters with a non-staff governor? By seniority.

From a safeguarding perspective, the Chair of Governors (or equivalent) is to whom any concerns about a headteacher’s conduct should be reported. Yet, 4 in 10 teachers say they don’t know the name of their Chair of Governors. That’s not to say they would not know where to find the information but some of you on social media were concerned about this finding.

Do you know the name of your Chair of Governors? By seniority.

4. Should primary headteachers be required to have EYFS teaching experience?

We often miss Early Years out of our discussions in Teacher Tapp. There are long reasons for this, which we won’t go into here, but it’s safe to say that we wish we could do better.

So we tried a little this week…

For those who don’t know. The youngest pupils in the English education system spend their first year of school in the Early Years Foundation Stage. They are the only year group in schools to be statutorily exempt from the National Curriculum, and the EYFS follows non-statutory curriculum guidance that aims to develop the whole-child. 

It takes great skill and knowledge to be an effective EYFS teacher. So does it help to have a headteacher who understands the EYFS?

More than half of teachers (56%) believe that a primary headteacher should be required to have experience teaching the EYFS. 

A primary headteacher should be required to have experience teaching the EYFS.

Those of you with EYFS experience within the past five years are more likely (78%) to believe that primary heads should have experience teaching in the EYFS compared to teachers who have no experience in the EYFS (48%).

Have you ever been an EYFS class teacher? (down) versus A primary headteacher should be required to have experience teaching in the EYFS (across)

The results were analysed by seniority to establish how common it is for a primary headteacher to have EYFS teaching experience. The answer? 43% of surveyed primary headteachers do have some experience teaching in the EYFS – which may be higher than some of you expected. Much of that experience is over five years ago, of course, as heads may not have been in a teaching role for some time, although 8% of heads said they had this experience in the past five years too.

Have you ever been an EYFS class teacher? By seniority.

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: GCSE results 2022: 8 key trends in England’s data

Here are the universal reads for your reference:

Here are the primary-only reads for your reference:

Here are the secondary-only reads for your reference: