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What Teachers Tapped This Week #26 - 26th March 2018

25 March 2018

We’re almost at the Easter holiday line, folks! 

And we’re keeping at the 2,000 users line at min – which is great. But don’t forget to share these findings with colleagues, friends, that woman you chat to in the supermarket ?

Right, onto this week’s findings…


1.Too Many SLT spoil the books?

Back in November, co-founder Becky gave a lecture in which she suggested school leadership teams had expanded during the financial ‘good times’ for schools in the 2000s. 

Budgets are now tighter. Does this mean schools should therefore trim back on leaders?

Teacher Tapp users divided down the middle on the issue, narrowly in favour of cuts:


We expected senior leaders would be least happy at the idea of being trimmed. But even 31% of primary senior leaders, and 43% of senior leaders felt schools could reduce SLT numbers to save money. 


Here’s a puzzle, though. How can schools make this happen? Unless senior leaders voluntarily give up their pay it’s pretty tricky as the government can’t directly force schools to reduce their leadership teams. 




2. How Sunday dread reduces with experience

Every teacher knows the feeling of going to bed on a Sunday evening, stomach churning with worry, as you think about the upcoming lessons. But how prevalent is it across a career?

New teachers suffer the most poor behaviour in their lessons – and, it turns out, they are also the ones dreading the most lessons. 

Primary teachers tend to dread fewer lessons, but those with less experience do dread more than colleagues, bar a bump for those in the job more than 20 years. 

Among secondary teachers the numbers dreading at least two lessons is substantial. Most new teachers dread at least one lesson, if not more, and even those who have been in the classroom over a decade are susceptible to the dreads.

In a world where retention is so problematic, getting a handle on which staff are dreading lessons and getting them some support, could be the difference between staff leaving at the end of the year, or staying on. (We will look into this once we get to the end of the academic year and can see who has stayed or gone).  


3. What do teachers think about homeschooling?

Homeschooling is making headlines as concerns about illegal schools and off-rolling are coming to the fore. A major worry for politicians is that parents do not need to register their child as home-schooled, which makes it easier for children to be put into abusive conditions. 

Teachers tend to be left out of this conversation as it’s seen as a ‘parents rights’ issue. But we thought we should find out what teachers think, as they are often the ones dealing with children who arrive at school after a period of homeschooling. 


As is often the case, Teacher Tappers were almost evenly divided!

However, we noticed a big difference between those with child and those without:

Teachers with children were 55% in favour of allowing parents to withdraw, whereas childless teachers were mostly against (46%). 


4. Reputation matters for recruitment

Why did you apply to work in the school where you are now?

For most teachers, the fact a job aligns with their subject/seniority/year group and is within a mangeable commute is enough. (We’ve looked at commute times here). 

But two further things also mattered. 

A strong reputation and a good pre-interview school visit made a third of teachers apply to their school. Given most job applicants now google schools before applying, it’s worth making sure the messages they see (on your website, and elsewhere) are as positive as possible!



4. Teachers like private companies more than unequal pay

There are obviously some challenges around pay (or lack of) at the moment. 

The possibility of differential pay is therefore on the horizon as schools increasingly experience recruitment difficulties.

And yet… teachers aren’t particularly keen for their heads to use pay supplements as a means to recruit extra staff (or don’t think it would work).

In fact, teachers are happier with a school getting in touch with recruitment agencies, and paying the fees involved in a temporary arrangement, than putting up the salary for a job. 

This preference for equal pay also holds true in the case of recruiting physics teachers


Staff who themselves are unhappy with their pay are less likely to feel happy about other staff getting a pay supplement here. (There is a certain policy-dilemma here since the only time when differential pay is important is exactly at the time when teachers feel unhappy about their own pay!)



Teachers of all subjects are pretty opposed to differential pay, even science teachers. We have received some feedback that existing science teachers would be unhappy about pay supplements if they themselves didn’t also get them.



We wanted to know how much the responses to the question are affected by perceptions around physics. So we asked how much they would be happy to pay to retain one of the school’s best teachers. The proportions happy to see a pay out are very similar.



However, when we compare individuals responses we can see that teachers are generally happier to pay a little more to the existing potential early retiree than they are to the new physics recruit. This is, perhaps, not surprising since we have told them that the potential retiree is an outstanding teacher and we know nothing about the quality of the physics recruit.

In conclusion, then, it seems that paying maths and science teachers more might be a solution to recruitment woes but it won’t be a well-received policy. 




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

The Puer Educatione

Marking review evidence

Research in education is great until you use it

Assessment with memory in mind – Joe Kirby

The history of intelligence

Why can’t boys be more like girls?


Right folks – over and out for another week…

In the meantime, please keep sharing what we are doing. Remember, we need more of you before we can do the really exciting and detailed analysis!

Here’s the powerpoint slide (with script), a PDF, and a black-and-white one-pager to help out with that. 



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