Understanding what makes some schools stressful places to work
By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 15 November 2022
Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society
By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 15 November 2022
By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 4 November 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic led to one of the biggest shocks the world has ever seen. Schools were shut, remote instruction became widespread and government policy seemed to be changing overnight. The working conditions of teachers hence suddenly changed, with significant disruption from the pandemic lasting for the next two years.
This is likely to have had a major impact on teachers’ mental health, including their wellbeing at work. As part of a project supported by the Nuffield Foundation, we have tracked teachers’ anxiety about work at 75 points between October 2019 and July 2022.
Specifically, we regularly asked the TeacherTapp panel to answer the following question on a Tuesday afternoon: (more…)
By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 13 July 2022
There is a curiously British aversion to talking about matters that might upset the neighbours. This feeling lurks at the back of many a staffroom, like some unwelcome spectre at the feast, or an aged parrot on the shoulder, grown weary by the passing of the years. Yet, disturb things we must. If schools are to become places of belonging, then some difficult conversations need to take place. This blog – the third in the ‘Belonging’ Series – is about how.
In 1981, I was teaching in a South London secondary school when the Brixton Riots erupted. In their wake, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher brought in senior judge Lord Scarman to examine the causes. His excoriating report pointed to (more…)
By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 10 May 2022
When we use the word ‘school’ we expect all of us to have a similar view of what this means. In its most basic form, it’s a building with classrooms of students and a teacher. This ‘grammar of schooling’ has been in place for decades and tends to include the grouping of students for purposes of instruction, with teachers’ work defined vis-à-vis groups of students and how they are progressed through school on the basis of assessment outcomes and age.
So far, so obvious. But underlying these visible structures, we find a vast variety in practices and views of what it means to educate children, how to organize a school and the meaning of a school. Those involved in schooling – students, parents, teachers and leaders – may have different views of their school, conceptions of their role in the school, and of the values of schooling. Such views, often expressed in metaphors, provide an important means to access what people think, but also to understand their actions. Mills et al, for example, argue that how we choose to act is (also) a function of how we construct conceptions of what we are and what we are trying to do; and when certain metaphors gain prominence in the minds of a (more…)
By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 8 February 2022
StartupStockPhotos / Pixabay
Sandra Leaton Gray and Andy Phippen.
By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 15 December 2021
The Government response to the initial teacher training (ITT) market review report is deepening the muddle about what is meant by ‘expertise’ in teaching and initial teacher education (ITE). The new requirements to become a provider of ITE are based on a distorted view of subject specialist expertise as something to be added to an extensive generalist preparation for teaching. It is for this reason that subject specialists in ITE need to be heard and taken seriously, while the sector digests the new guidance to become accredited providers of ITE programmes.
Our new IOE Blog series will provide insights by subject specialists in ITE, highlighting the specific expertise required to develop excellent teachers across disciplines and phases.
The ITT Core Content Framework (CCF) places the development of generic knowledge and practice of teaching at the heart of ITE and is the centrepiece of the new requirements. Yet it is a fundamental flaw to suggest that teaching is first and foremost a generalist practice. Instead, there is a need to scrutinise what it takes to make a (more…)
By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 10 September 2021
The Government’s Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Market Review has received widespread criticism from universities and school leaders. Their concerns include the prescriptive nature of the proposals and implications for the quality of teacher education and school partnerships. There are concerns that the proposed model promotes professional compliance rather than autonomy and further marginalises universities’ role in new teachers’ learning. Now that we have heard from universities and school leaders, where are the voices of the student teachers themselves?
My new study sought to understand the perspectives of primary and early years teachers who were completing a significant employment-based ITT programme at the IOE. The study examined trainee perspectives on the roles of the scheme’s three partnership organisations in their learning and in turn consider the implications for (more…)
By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 13 August 2021
We have until 22 August to respond to a DfE consultation about the proposal to radically restructure Initial Teacher Education (ITE). The proposals, in practice, pave the way to close existing programmes of ITE in England from as early as 2023, replacing them with an experimental form of provision that will be subject to approval by a centralised Accreditation Board (about which there is little detail). These proposals have been put forward from the DfE despite much ITE enjoying excellent track records, highly experienced school partnerships and expert staff.
The proposal is for existing ITE provision in England to be replaced by a system that is experimental on several levels, in terms of: student recruitment; curriculum; assessment; quality assurance and, crucially, stakeholder roles. This includes the possibility of universities becoming redundant or certainly optional for ITE as new entities are created to extend degree awarding powers to other providers. Government will require all providers to be reaccredited in order to continue recruiting from September 2022.
This is in a system where, almost exactly one year ago, all of the 340 initial teacher training (ITT) partnerships that were inspected in the most recent national Ofsted cycle were judged to be good or outstanding. We can only speculate as to why the government had so little trust in the comprehensive and sustained judgements of the entire system that were concluded just one year ago. In July this (more…)
By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 14 July 2021
In early July the Department for Education published the report of its Market Review of Initial Teacher Training and launched a consultation on its proposals. Many university providers have voiced their concerns at the proposals, one of the most forthright being the University of Cambridge. Higher education bodies have spoken out alongside, including the Russell Group and the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET).
At the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) we have also registered our disappointment at the recommendations the report puts forward, recommendations that we, like many others, believe risk eroding the quality of Initial teacher education (ITE) as well as endangering teacher supply.
The IOE was founded in 1902 as the London Day Training College for Teachers: teacher education has sat at the heart of what we do (more…)
By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 2 June 2021
Katya Saville and Sandra Leaton Gray.
Since the second lockdown lifted in March and all students were able to return to school, much attention has been placed on the need for schools to help students ‘catch up’ on lost learning. However, our research this year found that the pandemic’s impact on the learning of students in England who were moving from primary to secondary school (Year 7) varied widely.
While many teachers in our study reported that a reasonable degree of learning continued during the first lockdown, almost a third found a wide variation between students. For instance, in interview, one teacher contrasted the difficulties for students in large families with little technological access with the accelerated learning which occurred for other vulnerable students who were able to access in-school provision.
One of our key recommendations, therefore, is to invest heavily in technological infrastructure and training, particularly as our survey findings indicate that, even (more…)