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What Teacher Tapped Last Week #30 - 23 April 2018

23 April 2018

Anyone else suntanned this weekend?

Ah, well, it’s time to turn our attention from sunshine to data! ? 

Here’s what we learned from the Teacher Tapp panel this week…


1.Potterworld vs The National Portrait Gallery

Summer term is here and some of you will be planning the end-of-year trip. But where will your pupils go?

If last week’s trade-off between the National Portrait Gallery and Potterworld is anything to go by, the decision won’t be easy as there were strong feelings in both directions (though Potterworld pipped it).


Was this because primary teachers felt the National Portrait Gallery was too inaccessible? Absolutely not!

It was the SECONDARY teachers most likely to strongly agree they’d take pupils to Potterworld than primary teachers! Though more secondary teachers also strongly disagreed with the premise too:



What we’ve really learned is that you just can’t please everyone!



2. Should parents have the right to remove their child from SATs exams?

With rumours of a parent boycott bubbling again this year, we thought we’d ask if teachers felt it right that parents could remove their child from the tests. (In practice it is possible, but tricky to achieve). 

The vote went 47% in favour of parents right to move, and 34% against. 


Primary and secondary teachers felt roughly the same about it:



Teachers with and without children were a little different in their views:


But the most stark difference was in gender, with 22% men strongly disagreeing that parents should have the right to remove their child from SATs exams, compared to just 8% of women. At the other end, 21% women strongly felt parents should have the right of removal, compared to just 16% of men. 


3. What price is a child?

People do not like putting cash values on children. But unless you teach for free, there is an economic transaction to the work you do. School gives you £x; in return, you teach children.  

Hence, a few months ago, we asked this question:


On social media, several people were appalled. They did not feel it appropriate to put a cash value on a child (and 82% picked the ‘no salary change’ option). 

HOWEVER – last week we revisited this concept. But this time we asked how much extra teachers ought to get if their class size increased. It’s the same concept of cost for a child, but…

LO! This time only 44% said no amount of cash was needed or would be fair in order to have them teach more children. 

The biggest group, 33%, said they would want an extra £5,000 if asked to take five extra pupils. 

And this time we received zero complaints about equating kids to cash sums. 

This is not surprising. Humans react differently to financial losses than financial gains, and we think differently about behaviours that we consider as discriminatory (e.g. excluding a child) as opposed to those considered as inclusive (e.g. take in extra children). 

However, it show there is nothing wrong with asking these questions. People do have financial preferences and finding them out is useful. 

For example, digging into the data on teachers who would give up some of their salary in to not teach the most difficult child in their class, we found something interesting. 70% of them had their last lesson interrupted by bad behaviour. Among teachers who said they would never give up salary to get rid of a naughty child, only 40% had their last lesson interrupted.

It may appear this latter group were being high-minded and super inclusive. But it’s also the case they were in a better behaviour environment or had better techniques for dealing with it. 

It is much easier to sit in horrified judgment of other people’s choices when you are not experiencing their daily battles.


What about the class size question?

Looking again at the class size question, we did not find much of a difference between primary and secondary teachers…


…But we did find a HUGE difference between the views of classroom teachers versys headteachers. 

A third of headteachers felt any class size was a fair requirement. Just 13% of classroom teachers agreed. 

This reminds of the CEO Pay Phenomena, in which heads and teachers disagree on leadership salaries. Teachers think CEOs should be paid around £100k-£150k a year. Heads believe it should be much higher.

This question shows a reverse. Heads believe teachers should get less for bigger classes than teachers think they should get. 

Conclusion: the closer you are to doing a job the more you think it should be paid!


4. Written feedback: a waste of time?

Marking is a huge workload but teachers seem reluctant to stop even if no one is checking

More oddly, in response to a question this week, we learned that 65% of teachers strongly or somewhat agreed that if they wrote no comments in students books, the pupils would still learn as much. 


We checked to see if it was a primary vs secondary issue, but the two are very similar.

However we noticed yet another classroom vs headteacher division.

The double negatives make it tricky to untangle, but if you stare long enough at the graph below, what it shows is that headteachers are much more likely than their staff to believe written comments in students books are important for learning. And this is especially true at secondary level. 

Our sample size here is low, so these are tentative findings we need to repeat again and look at carefully. But if repeated, it could mean this time-intensive practice is looked at very differently between practitioners and managers. And it wouldn’t be surprising if the beliefs of leaders are why teachers keep marking lots, even if they don’t think it’s effective.  

The killer question is whether the headteachers believe it for the pupils of other teachers than themselves. And, are they correct?


5. Stuck and Ignored: How classroom teachers have less autonomy than their managers

Ok, there’s no way to sugar coat this next bit. We’ve already had two findings which suggest a difference between the way heads and classroom teachers see two issues. And now we are going to present two more.

In doing so, it could read like  ‘SLT-bashing’, and that’s not useful. Everyone has jobs to do and everyone is trying to do it well. 

However, the data sometimes shows what it shows and we have to be curoius and try and figure out what’s behind it, rather than leaping to conclusions. 

So here are the two questions we looked at this week which had interesting differences between SLT/heads and teachers:

First, we asked about the chance of compassionate leave to attend a friend’s funeral. All headteachers felt they would be able to go. Only a tiny percentage of SLT felt they wouldn’t be able to go. But 7% of teachers knew they couldn’t go, and another 6% weren’t sure. 

These are small numbers. The main thing of note is that most teachers felt they could go. But that lack of uncertainty among managers shows how different the experience can be as a manager versus a teacher. 

bigger difference showed up when looking at the way teachers felt about being kept up to date about key issues. 

Just 23% of classroom teachers teachers say the are ‘always’ adequately up to date with issues about their department or key stage. (The critical word here is is ‘adequately’). For headteachers the score was 73%


There are obvious reasons for these differences. If a headteacher or senior leader needs to know something, they can easily ask the relevant staff member. As a mainscale teacher, it can be frustrating when a data policy change arrives, or some new behaviour system is beginning, and you weren’t kept fully-informed, even if it was just that everyone forgot to tell you. No one is suggesting this is all done on purpose, but it adds up to a qualitatively different experience for people in different jobs. 

Plus, we know that autonomy, competence, and relationships all matter for work morale. It may be inevitable that the jobs are structured differently, and have different outcomes, but it’s also worth pondering on what this means for staff, and if this is a reason why mainscale teachers leave at higher rates than people in other positions. 



6. Finally, as ever, we learned that you really love our daily tips, so here are the links for last week:

How to avoid ‘whataboutery’ in behaviour management

Not including is easier and it works

Six ways to help struggling readers

Elaboration strategies (using a science lesson as an example)

Workaholics need boundaries not balance

Who is ED Hirsch? Explained by Daniel Willingham


Right folks – over and out for another week…

In the meantime, keep sharing what we are doing. Here’s a powerpoint slide (with script), a PDF, and a black-and-white one-pager to help. 

Remember, we need more of you before we can do the really exciting and detailed analysis!

Enjoy the rest of the week…



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