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What did you make of the policies announced during conference season?

10 October 2023

Policy Announcements

It was the Conservative Party conference last week, with headline education announcements being the reform of A-Levels, teacher retention packages and a mobile phone ban for schools. We took a look at the mobile phone ban in detail last week, but what did you think of the other announcements?

The ‘Advanced British Standard’ replaces both A-Levels and T-Levels, with students studying English and Maths ‘in some form’ to 18. One-in-four of you agree with this policy, with it being marginally more popular among primary teachers. Opposition is strong, though, with 58% disagreeing, include more than two-thirds of English teachers!

The second announcement promised retention bonuses to teachers of ‘key’ (more on that, later!) subjects. This was similarly popular to the above, with just over one-in-four teachers in favour of this. It may come as little surprise that teachers in subjects with traditionally more shortages (such as Maths and Science) were more in favour.

Which subjects should actually count as key subjects and be eligible for such bonuses? Well, there was general agreement on the core subjects, with 67% and 63% of teachers saying Maths and Science, respectively should be classed as key subjects.

Of course, the Conservatives weren’t alone in announcing new policies, Labour managed to sneak one out prior to their conference this week about brushing teeth. We asked both EYFS/KS1 teachers and primary senior leaders their thoughts on introducing supervised toothbrushing. 27% of teachers agreed with the proposal.

We’ll be sure to get your opinions on any further policy announcements that are made this week!

Do you prefer meetings or emails?

We’ve all had that feeling in a meeting where we think it could have been shared differently – don’t worry, it’s not just you! Almost half of classroom teachers and middle leaders attended a meeting in the past week, that could have been summarised in an email! Headteachers aren’t free from it either, with one-in-five saying the same!

More emails, I hear you scream? Many of you consistently say you’re getting too many emails, so there’s clearly a fine balance to strike to get this right!

SEND Support

You will have noticed that there are certain sets of questions we ask every year – including one set this week on supporting SEND students. We do this to capture how feelings have changed over time, but also to use as a benchmark for schools using our School Surveys service (to find out more, click here).

This year, almost one-in-five primary teachers say they have nowhere near the help they need to support students with SEND, compared to one-in-ten in June 2022. A rise can also be seen among secondary teachers, albeit to a lesser extent, rising from 5% to 8% of secondary teachers.

So, what can be done to help these teachers who need more help? Three-quarters of you said more TA support was needed to support SEND students – up from 63% in 2022. However, we all know that budgets are extremely tight, so is there anything else that schools can do to help?

Almost half of teachers said they wanted more time to plan. 40% wanted to get more advice on how to meet the needs of these students, both similar to June 2022. More training was also popular, although less so compared to last time.

Ups and Downs

On the rise

📈 56% of primary teachers are now sharing their learning intentions on a powerpoint (or similar) at the start of each lesson, up from 45% in 2019.

Heading down

📉 68% of teachers are keeping a record of their CPD in a paper-based log, down from 74% compared to 2022. (27% aren’t keeping any record at all)

And finally…

The most read tip of the last week has been: Main changes to ‘Keeping Children Safe in Schools’

And here are the rest for your reference: