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IOE Blog


Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


Lots of children find school science lessons boring. Should science teachers include discussion of ethical issues?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 12 September 2023

Bumblebee resting on a vivid pink flower

Credit: Joaquim Alves Gaspar / Wikimedia Commons.

Amanda McCrory and Michael J. Reiss.

Early in 2023, and for the third year in a row, the UK government decided to allow the ‘emergency’ use of the pesticide thiamethoxam (a type of neonicotinoid) on sugar beet in England. Thiamethoxam is normally banned because it is incredibly toxic to bees and other insects. A single teaspoon can kill over a thousand million bees.

Should school children consider ethical issues such as whether these pesticides should be used? In our newly published book The Place of Ethics in Science Education: Implications for Practice, we look at the arguments for and against the inclusion of ethical issues in science education. (more…)

How well do we measure teacher workload?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 19 September 2019

John Jerrim.

Over the last five years, the Department for Education has taken steps to reduce teacher workload. This was spurred by results from the TALIS 2013 survey which illustrated how teachers in England work longer hours than teachers in most other countries. The government subsequently pledged to “[collect]robust evidence on teacher workload at least every two years”.

But what counts as “robust evidence”? And has the DFE kept this promise? Let’s take a look.


Seven key findings about teachers’ working hours

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 18 September 2019

John Jerrim.

Today, I have released a new paper about teachers’ hours of work, co-authored with Sam Sims and Becky Allen. This is part of a project, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, investigating the health and well-being of teachers in England.

This blogpost provides an overview of some of our key findings. A copy of the full paper is available here.

So, what have we learnt?


Despite the government’s best efforts, there has yet to be any reduction in teachers’ workloads

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 20 June 2019

John Jerrim.

Five years ago, when results from the TALIS 2013 survey were released, there was one thing that particularly caught the attention of education policymakers, unions and school leaders – teacher workload. This study revealed how lower-secondary teachers in England had one of the longest working weeks anywhere across the world.

This subsequently led to a huge policy effort by the Department for Education to reduce teachers’ workloads. Amongst other things, this included setting up numerous workload review groups, reducing the data burden being placed upon schools and publishing advice and guidance to school leaders about how teachers’ workloads could be reduced.

Today, results from the latest wave of the TALIS survey (conducted in 2018) has been released. This provides the first real opportunity, using genuinely comparable data, to consider (more…)

The National Agreement on teacher workload: where did it all go wrong?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 23 October 2014

Rob Webster
The French have a saying for it: ‘plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’; the more things change, the more they stay the same. Today the Government announced the Workload Challenge. For most teachers and school leaders, this phrase is a way of life. They view their workload as nothing less than a challenge! Hardly surprising, as they spend many of the 50 to 60 hours they work each week ‘struggling to stay on top of piles of incident reports, over-detailed lesson-plan templates, health and safety forms, departmental updates, training requests and so on’.
So says Nick Clegg, whose wider aim is to apply to the public sector the principles that (he claims) have (more…)