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Unfunded pay rises, certain subject knowledge, revision and dread

4 April 2023

The fun-ding of pay rises

First up, pay. The explosive response to the latest pay offer was audible as far as Iceland and the Canaries – so we had a pretty good guess what we would see. No surprises, 89% of you said you would reject it. Just 4% said you’d accept it, and 7% were unsure. But it gets more interesting…

Teachers’ anger is as much about the effect on schools as the effect on their pockets. We asked whether you would be more likely to accept the pay offer if the government funded it fully (rather than expecting schools to find most of the money from existing budgets). This made a huge difference. 41% of teachers said they would vote to accept the offer, 31% to reject, and 27% were unsure. It seems likely the government could have brought the strike action to a close by fully funding the pay offer across all schools.

Everyone’s angry. Looking at the offer on the table (mostly unfunded by the government), we broke it down by your role. Classroom teachers (89% intending to reject) were just as unhappy as middle leaders (89%), SLT (86%) and heads (88%).

We can’t say much about the future, but – with two more days of (NEU) strikes already timetabled, we know this dispute will be with us for a while. Stay tuned.

How certain are you about your subject knowledge?

This week, we did some digging into subject knowledge. We asked secondary teachers what they were *certain* they would get in an unseen GCSE paper tomorrow. Over half of you said a Grade 9. Your author thinks nothing is certain in the world of GCSE specs and marking, and went for a Grade 8, along with 26% of tappers. Another 15% said a Grade 7.

We looked at how this interacted with the wealth/deprivation of your intake. The more wealthy your intake, the more certain you were about the grade you would get.

Looking at subject teaching, our most confident teachers were the linguists: if you were born in Madrid, or managed to survive for a year in Paris, a GCSE is probably pretty easy. Mathematicians and scientists were more confident than those teaching English or the Humanities – presumably because of the subjectivity of the mark scheme I worried about.

Revision time!

We also asked how much time a GCSE student should spend revising each day during the Easter holidays.

At the extremes, 5% of you said less than an hour – presumably because our students know it all already, or it’s too late to make a difference – meanwhile 4% of you said 7 hours or more… We hope that you’re coordinating with your immediate colleagues to offer a consistent message to students!

Most of you thought 1-2 hours (43%) or 3-4 hours (37%) would be enough.

The picture didn’t vary much across subjects: though arts subjects were most likely to think little time was needed (46% said 2 hours or less), and humanities teachers most likely to think a lot of time was needed (19% thought 5 hours or more).

Short cuts…

Parents’ Evening: In October 2021, just 17% of schools were offering solely face-to-face parents’ evenings. By March 2023, this figure was back up to 53% and only a quarter of schools are now offering online-only parents’ evenings. (17% were offering a mixture)..

Lesson Dreads: We also asked how many of your lessons you’re dreading in the next week. 44% of you aren’t dreading any of them, while 6% of you are dreading 6 or more!

We found teachers dreaded more lessons in RI or ‘inadequate’ schools – but even in in ‘outstanding’ schools, only half of staff weren’t dreading any lessons!

We hope you’re enjoying a dread-free holiday.

And finally…

The most read tip this week was: Managing bees in the classroom!

And here are the rest for your reference:

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