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Voting behaviour, budgets, and if you could fix ONE problem...

31 October 2023

It’s the end of October, which means it’s cold and a bit grey but also…

Teacher Tapp Golden Tickets are back! From the 14th October until the 14th December 2023, for every 30 questions you answer on Teacher Tapp you’ll receive a Golden Ticket for the Teacher Tapp Prize Draw!

What’s the prize? Each month you could win:

  • £1,000 cash!
  • One of three Fortnum & Mason hampers

Your raffle ticket entry codes are in the ‘Rewards’ section of the app. YOU DON’T NEED TO DO ANYTHING TO REDEEM TICKETS: they are already in your app. But we will put a call out on the prize draw dates for the winning code (which is on your ticket) – so keep an eye out for that.

The prize draws will happen on 14th November and 14th December. And don’t worry if you don’t win in November, your tickets are valid for the December draw too!

Now, onto the week’s results…

October Party Polling

After new policy announcements during conference season, who is getting your vote?

Labour have edged further ahead among teachers – 62% now say they’d vote Labour in the next election.

The rise in Labour support has mirrored a fall in Lib Dem support, with just 9% of teachers currently eyeing them up at the next election. The Conservatives – who were never too popular, appear to be still losing support, with 3% of teachers now saying they’d vote blue.

2019 was a long time ago – and back then many more of you said you were voting Conservative! We’ve seen that percentage drop over the years – but where have these voters gone? One common argument that the Conservatives use is that Tory voters are staying at home, rather than switching to Labour. This certainly doesn’t appear to be the case among teachers! Just 4% of 2019 Conservative voters say they don’t intend to vote at the next election, although it should be said that 36% don’t yet know who they will vote for!

Among the other parties, there’s certainly a shift towards Labour as well, with 37% of 2019 Lib Dems and 30% of 2019 Greens now saying they’ll vote Labour this time.

What are the main issues driving who you will vote for? Back in 2019, Brexit was dominating decision-making, with 40% of you saying it was the most important policy area. Today, that figure is just 7% and education policy is taking a forefront, with 40% of you saying it’s the most important issue. The state of the economy is second, rising from less that 10% in 2019 to 25% today.

Minimum Service Levels in Strikes

The government’s drive to introduce ‘minimum service levels’ in the public hit this week after the Education Secretary invited the unions to say what these should be – but what do you, the teachers, think they should be?

More than two-thirds of you disagree with minimum service levels entirely, saying schools should be able to shut if low on staff. In fact, headteachers were the most sure of this – with 77% saying schools should be able to shut.

However, almost a third of classroom teachers say schools should always open for children defined as ‘vulnerable’, and 16% said for children with special needs.

As you might expect, this differed by your voting intention , with just 56% of likely Conservative voters saying schools should be allowed to fully close, compared to 71% of Labour voters.

School Problems

From the macro to the micro. What are the issues facing your school?

Back in 2019 we ran a Hackathon, where teachers wrote a series of questions. One of them, asked in 2019, was about the biggest issues facing schools. How does the same question fare today?

A lack of funding came out top across all teachers, with two-thirds of teachers citing it as a problem in their school – but this was more the case among primary teachers. Secondary teacher’s biggest complaint was that they did not have enough suitable applicants for teaching jobs, although behaviour came out as another important problem.

What problem would you fix though? It may be surprising to hear that the top category in the previous question doesn’t necessarily come out top here!

For example, while 71% of secondary teachers said a shortage of teaching applicants was an issue in their school, it didn’t come out top for fixing. In fact, just 16% say they would fix this, with many instead opting for fixing the poor behaviour of students, 31% (presumably because they think it will help with other problems, as well!).

For primary teachers, on the other hand, it was simpler – 44% opted to fix the lack of funding in their school.

However – if we reframed the question as fixing a problem across all schools, then it does change – with funding coming out on top in both phases! It’s not hard to see why; people aren’t particularly positive about their school’s financial health this year. Nearly two-thirds of primary teachers feel as if their school will be operating at a loss this year, with the same true among 37% of secondary teachers.

This is slightly better than last year – when among primary and secondary teachers the figures were 63% and 49%, respectively. (Although that was also just after the disastrous month of Liz Truss’ premiership and budget).

Non-teaching appointments may be seen as a way to alleviate some of the financial concerns for schools. Secondary schools in particular are making such appointments in pastoral, admin and careers support. That said, this was far less common among primary schools, with 74% of primary teachers saying their school hadn’t done this (not surprising, given budgets).

All of which again goes to show how different the experience is in primary and secondary schools during this economic turmoil.

Ups and Downs

On the rise

📈 35% of you say that in your ideal lesson everyone does lots of practice questions, up five percentage points compared to October 2021

Heading down

📉 Just 30% of you said you were able to prioritise your own well-being during the past half term, down from 33% a year ago.

And finally…

The most read article of the last week has been: When restudying trumps retrieval

And here are the rest for your reference: