CPD - an overlooked asset in boosting performance

Posted by James de Bass on Feb 1, 2019 10:58:09 AM

 Continuing professional development: an overlooked asset in boosting performance


School leaders are investing less in providing teachers with continuing professional development as budgeting cuts and financial strain lead schools to direct spending towards other areas, new research indicates. 


According to statistics published by the Teachers Development Trust, spending on CPD in schools dropped by £23m year-on-year for the 2016-17 school year. 


Schools in England spend just 0.5% of their budgets on CPD on average, with research revealing that 10.5% of secondary schools and 4.5% of primary schools spent no money at all on continuing professional development in 2016-17.


The Department for Education cites CPD provision as an essential element in bolstering school success and urges that “professional development must be prioritised by school leadership.”


Yet financial strain appears to preventing schools from offering CPD activities, with a government teacher survey last year finding cost to be the most commonly cited barrier to teachers accessing effective CPD.


The lack of quality development opportunities available to teachers as a result is noted by the OECD, which states that “the quality and nature of continuing training available [in UK schools] is very uneven”. 


91% of teachers affirmed that the were prevented by barriers including cost and workload from accessing continuing professional development in a Department for Education survey last year.


This lack of access is particularly concerning given that widespread research has confirmed the benefits of CPD, with statistics showing strong links between CPD provision and improvements in pupil outcomes, staff morale and retention rates.


An extensive 15 year study on learning influences by University of Auckland professor John Hattie found CPD to be in the top 20 most influential elements in improving pupil outcomes out of 138 practices analysed.


In order to reap the benefits of professional development provision whilst adhering to a tight school budget, school leaders must be selective in finding good value and cost-free approaches to incorporate CPD opportunities into their management systems.



Choosing the right training 


One key criticism often levelled at CPD as a strategy is the broadness of the term. 


Comprising any activity that helps workers develop their skills and knowledge, and enhance their professional practice, CPD can take a vast range of forms in schools — from accreditation courses, training and workshops, to in-school mentoring schemes and peer group exchanges. 


A CPD strategy can encompass on one hand activities as small-scale as individual teacher reading and reflection and on the other involve intra-school visits, education conferences and widescale network collaboration.


As a result, the sort of strategy chosen by a school is hugely significant to CPD’s effectiveness in terms of both results and time and cost efficiency.


TDT chief executive David Weston warns that “a large swathe of training has no effect whatsoever on pupil outcomes,” adding: 


“The training most schools choose is often poorly chosen and ineffective, and the evidence about how to fix this is not widely known or understood.”


Research shows that CPD is most effective when it is targeted, evidence-based, collaborative, sustained over time and subjected to periodic evaluations. 


In particular, collaborative techniques such as implementing networks for topic-specific best practice sharing both within and across schools can be very effective in improving pupil outcomes.


These networks offer a low-cost way to bolster professional development and staff support and strengthen ties between colleagues, pooling resources and uniting staff on common goals in areas like special educational needs, maths and English teaching.


One MAT head notes that implementing system leader networks “reduces our resource needs by creating a synergy and network of people working together.”


This activity in particular provides staff with an opportunity to build their leadership and initiative skills, fostering the next generation of school leaders and improving job satisfaction.


In addition, collaborative efforts can be surprisingly time effective, with technology allowing networks to communicate remotely and for free via chat groups. 


Time efficiency is another key concern in prioritising CPD strategies, with many school leaders reluctant to add to staff’s heavy workloads with mandatory courses or trialling of new teaching methods.  


In its 2018 school snapshot survey report, the Department for Education found that 51% of over 1,000 teachers surveyed did not feel they had time to take up significant professional development activities such as courses.


Therefore when selecting their CPD offerings, it is imperative that schools focus on those that maximise time efficiency alongside cost considerations.


Incorporating CPD into existing performance management strategies, such as via 360 degrees performance appraisals, is one option.


Additionally, schools are advised to ensure that their chosen CPD offerings dovetail as neatly as possible with the school’s specific development goals, so that time spent on development has a tangible impact on improving outcomes and doesn’t feel to teachers like a gratuitous additional activity.



External experts and evaluations


Whilst in-school strategies such as peer networks and incorporating CPD into existing performance management policies offer cost-effective and time-effective results, research suggests that offering teachers some training from external experts is important and can significantly boost CPD’s effectiveness.


External experts offer not just evidence-based training and insight, but also bring a fresh perspective from outside of the school to identify and correct bad habits which may have become widespread across a school.

When choosing workshops and courses, schools are advised to be selective — aiming for a few, well-chosen, longer term courses directly related to practical school development objectives rather than a wide array of one-off workshops on a variety of subjects.


Research suggests that schools can achieve better results with training which takes place over a sustained period of time and which is more hands-on in nature, in part because allowing teachers to practice new skills is crucial to enforcing new techniques.


One-off sessions and out-of-school events such as conferences are therefore less likely to have an impact on teaching quality than more personalised, hands-on courses where smaller groups of teachers receive training support over an extended period of time. 


For similar reasons, training should be as targeted as possible, concentrating on a small set of focuses to allow teachers to thoroughly extend their knowledge and key skills on a specific subject and to practice what they learn during sessions.


Analysts advise against superficial focus on ‘tips and tricks’ and bought-in lesson plans, as such techniques are less likely to build teachers’ own skills and confidence and so improve the long term quality of their teaching.


In addition, school management should strive to evaluate the effectiveness and progress of CPD offerings should after training is delivered. 


Whilst this may in the short term add time and cost to the process, in the long-term such evaluation is key to ensuring that a school’s CPD provision is as streamlined and effective as possible. 


At the moment, only 3% of UK secondary schools evaluate the impact of CPD on student outcomes and attainment, promoting a scattershot, inefficient, hit-and-miss approach to training investments and making it difficult to know which offerings are truly proving to be the most valuable.



Improving Performance Management


Educate specialises in helping making performance management easier, faster and more effective.

 Educate supports teachers, school leaders, governors and education managers to develop and implement best practice staff performance management systems that deliver improved learning.

 To learn more on how Educate can help your school improve its performance management practices please email Carol French on carolfrench@educate.co.uk  or call 020 3411 1080.


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Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Senior Leadership Team, Recruitment, Rentention, Recruitment & Rentention, Annual Performance Review, wellbeing, CPD, Performance Management, continuing professional development

Factoring mental health into performance management

Posted by James de Bass on Jan 29, 2019 8:54:47 AM

 Mental health factored into performance management

 Improved mental health support for teachers could become a central element of school performance management strategies, as new research underlines the damage caused to education by teachers’ highly stressful working conditions.

HR professionals have predicted that discussions regarding mental wellness and wellbeing are set to become increasingly common during employee performance check-ups across all industries in general, as societal awareness and acceptance of mental health issues increases.

Mental health is a significant issue across the workforce, with nearly 20% of workers affected by some form of mental health condition.

Problems regarding employee mental health support are particularly acute in schools however , with teachers’ high-pressure working environment, heavy workloads and long working hours leading to high levels of stress, anxiety and depression across the profession.

A 2017 survey conducted by the Education Support Partnership found that 75% of all education staff in the UK had faced physical or mental health issues because of their work, with 53% having considered leaving as a result.

Of those surveyed, nearly a fifth (19%) said that work-related stress had caused them to have panic attacks, while more than half (56%) had experienced insomnia and difficulty sleeping due to school stress.

Beyond causing harm to individual workers’ wellbeing, a working environment which is not conducive to good mental health also inevitably has a severe impact on teacher performance and productivity.

Some 41% of UK teachers say that work stress has impaired their ability to concentrate, whilst over a quarter (28%) have had to take time off work.

Of those who did take time off work to recover from work-related mental health problems, the majority were absent from work for more than a month as a result.

Whilst teachers cite workload and work-life balance as the key professional causes of harm to their mental health, industry leaders have specifically faulted poor school management practices for failing staff.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, says: “The time has come to end the culture of the “anything goes” style of management where any adverse impact on teachers is regarded as collateral damage.”

He adds that “too many employers are failing to exercise their duty of care for the health and welfare of their employees and are presiding over mental and physical burnout.”

As well as having a positive impact on staff and pupils, improved wellbeing support can improve teacher performance and job satisfaction, in turn reducing staff turnover and absence from work whilst increasing productivity and promoting staff engagement.

To bolster mental health support at work and boost teacher job satisfaction, performance, retention, and wellbeing, school leaders will have to reconsider their overall approach to performance management in order to implement more supportive strategies.

Schools advised to make teachers’ mental health a priority

Improving teacher mental health support will require making mental health a priority in performance management, refocusing manager-teacher relationships to factor teachers’ mental health into discussions of performance and progress.

By reframing teacher-manager relations, schools can help to remove workplace stigma around discussing mental health — a key challenge in tackling professional issues related to staff’s mental wellbeing.

Studies show that a large number of workers are still hesitant to discuss mental health problems in the workplace, with many citing fear of judgement, losing out on professional opportunities and fear of discrimination for this reluctance.

To ease these concerns, school leaders must implement policies to introduce open, non-judgemental discussions of mental health into routine professional activities such as teacher-manager meetings.

This approach not only builds trust and ties between employees and management, but also encourages teachers to be honest and helps management to provide support more quickly, leaving staff feeling better supported and more valued.

It is advisable that mental health should not just be addressed as a stand-alone issue, but also considered in broader discussions regarding staff performance and progress.

For example, performance appraisals should aim to assess how work stress is impacting an individual’s performance and how this impact could be alleviated — perhaps with reduction of non-essential job duties or additional support.

By taking this approach, schools will be able to both improve and better understand the professional wellbeing of their teachers.

In terms of setting performance goals, rather than focusing on big, overarching annual goals, managers should set smaller, concrete objectives for staff in their appraisals, ensuring that teachers feel their goals are manageable and know where to seek support if they run into difficulty.

Aside from offering mental health specific support, schools can also support teachers’ wellbeing by providing sufficient continuing professional development opportunities for staff — with CPD support shown to increase teacher wellbeing and job satisfaction at all levels.

Results-driven management must be reformed, says research

In addition to altering teacher-manager relationships, a more balanced, mental-health focused approach to performance management will also likely mean moving away from the results-driven mindset currently prevalent in schools.

The intensely competitive, high-pressure emphasis on results in schools is evidenced through the use of strategies like linking teacher bonuses to pupil outcomes.

This approach not only impacts teachers’ stress levels but has also been shown to not be effective, ultimately only ever achieving the aim of improved academic results at heavy costs to staff and student wellbeing.

According to a recent study conducted by educational and psychological experts, the results-driven mindset in UK schools is leading to overly burdened teacher workloads and poorer quality teaching, as focus on paperwork and data collection detracts from lesson preparation and broader learning.

Teachers interviewed for the study reported feeling that not only their own mental health and performance, but also students’ education, was suffering due to an excessive emphasis on results.

One teacher reported feeling that the results culture meant: “conforming to syllabus and rigour of that syllabus rather than responding to the children,” whilst others reported feeling disillusionment with their role and losing self-esteem due to “impossible” outcome expectations.

According to psychologist Gerry Leavey, results-focused “tension is often internalised and impacts on teachers’ identity,” with teachers having to weigh “taking care of themselves and the non-academic needs of pupils against management duties and targets.”

The Ulster University researcher adds: “Too often, this leads to stress and mental health problems.”

To remedy this, researcher Dr Barbara Skinner says school leaders must seek to reform their attitudes towards results, advising that the introduction of any “rigidly prescribed organisational and management structures” in schools “should be weighed against their impacts on professional identity and personal well-being.”


Improving Performance Management


Educate specialises in helping making performance management easier, faster and more effective.

 Educate supports teachers, school leaders, governors and education managers to develop and implement best practice staff performance management systems that deliver improved learning.

 To learn more on how Educate can help your school improve its performance management practices please email Carol French on carolfrench@educate.co.uk  or call 020 3411 1080.


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Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Senior Leadership Team, Recruitment, Rentention, Recruitment & Rentention, Performance Related Pay, Annual Performance Review, Support Staff appraisal, wellbeing, mental health, teacher stress

Teacher appraisals must be supportive

Posted by James de Bass on Jan 11, 2019 11:18:22 AM

Teacher appraisals must be ‘supportive’


HR professionals have been touting the “end of the performance appraisal,” as more and more companies shift away from the traditional, annual review system to take up less structured forms of evaluation.


In recent years, a number of international organisations including Deloitte, Adobe, Accenture and IBM have stopped using performance appraisals altogether, opting instead to give employees feedback through ongoing, informal discussions or highly simplified mini-evaluations.


Research underlines that this shift stems from significant shortcomings with the traditional appraisal method, as perceived by both workers and managers. 


In one study of workers at US Fortune 1000 companies, 66% of employees termed themselves as strongly dissatisfied with the performance evaluations they received, whilst 65% reported feeling that their performance evaluations were not relevant to their job.


In another survey, 83% of human resource managers agreed that their company’s performance evaluation system needed an overhaul.


Despite these findings, data also underlines that performance appraisals have the capacity to boost productivity, increase morale and strengthen communication between workers and managers when implemented correctly.


Researchers have found that the traditional appraisal model provides managers with valuable insight and information on employees’ performance and progress, which can then be used to inform ongoing objectives and strategy and boost productivity.


The clarity and directness of appraisal models is helpful for workers, with one study showing that employee performance drops by 10% when reviews take the form of informal chats without any defined ratings system.


Appraisals therefore remain highly useful and relevant tools for performance management, with 9 in 10 companies still relying on annual performance reviews to monitor and support employee progress as well as to inform staff pay progression.


For schools, the National Association of Head Teachers, Association of Teachers and Lecturers, and National Union of Teachers all affirm that the appraisal system plays a crucial role in boosting teacher support, provided that appraisals are implemented as a “supportive and developmental process” to “ensure that all teachers have the skills and support they need to carry out their role effectively.”


To get the most out of appraisals, school leaders must make sure that their evaluations are clear, focused on the individual teacher and provide a path for progress, taking into account the career development needs of their staff.


Schools should focus on teachers’ development rather than salary


One performance appraisal mistake identified by researchers is that companies and organisations too often try to use appraisals for multiple, conflicting purposes. 


An international study of thousands of large and mid-sized organisations across 24 countries found that over 80% of organisations use performance appraisals for two purposes: firstly to identify employees’ training and development needs and secondly to decide whether employees should be granted salary increases, promotions and other shifts in role.


Analysts underline that while this may seem logical, the two purposes require markedly different forms of evaluation - with training and development appraisal tied to an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and salary or promotion appraisal based on the comparative performance of many employees.


As a result, conflating reviews of an individual employee’s progress and support needs with broader questions of whether they should receive a pay rise or be promoted can be counterproductive and leave employees feeling that decisions have been made unfairly.


Schools should aim to be clear in distinguishing performance appraisals as evaluations of an individual teacher’s progress and their subsequent training and development needs, which may partially inform but are ultimately separate to decisions on salary progression or promotions.


The Department for Education affirms this position, noting that a teacher’s progress in achieving appraisal objectives should be considered within a broader context when being used to inform decisions on salary.


In its guidance, the government department states “failure to meet objectives should certainly not automatically mean that [a teacher is] not awarded pay progression,” adding: 


“A school might consider that a teacher - who has made good progress on, but not quite achieved, a very challenging objective - has performed better and made a more significant contribution than a teacher who met in full a less stretching objective.”


Personal growth to be emphasised


A second mistake common in performance appraisal systems is to evaluate an employee’s performance against the performance of their peers, rather than against their own, past performance. 


To improve teachers’ attitudes towards appraisals and maximise the effectiveness of feedback, experts recommend that performance reviews be reframed as progress reviews, with staff only assessed in terms of their own progress or lack thereof, without mention of the comparative performance of their colleagues.


Appraising employees’ performance entirely without reference to the performance of others is largely necessary because of people’s overwhelming tendency to perceive themselves more favourably than others, which means that any comparisons between an individual and their colleague are generally deemed unfair by the individual.


A perceived lack of fairness is frequently a key factor in undermining the impact of performance appraisal systems, with one Gallup study finding that 71% of employees feel that their performance reviews are not wholly fair.


This problem is underlined by researchers from Columbia Business School, who observe:  “Oftentimes, the performance review process can be viewed as uncomfortable, unfair and uninspiring.”


They add: “In order to improve upon the fairness factor and thereby better ensure employees accept the feedback, managers must acknowledge the individual identities of their workers and their specific contributions to the organisation over time.”


Feedback from performance reviews evaluating individuals against their own, past performance has been rated as fairer by employees in several studies, which in turn is linked to improvements in both employee morale and productivity. 


Schools should therefore make sure to implement appraisal policies which evaluate teachers solely in light of their own performance.


In addition to making performance appraisals seem fairer, this approach can also appear more personalised, which builds workers’ goodwill towards their employers by demonstrating a level of familiarity and care, and can subsequently make workers more open to accepting both positive and negative feedback .


Regular check-ins are key


Finally, schools should aim to hold their appraisals more regularly than the traditional, annual norm.


48% of employees are currently given performance evaluations once a year, whilst 26% of employees are reviewed even less frequently.


Holding more frequent review discussions not only builds relations between staff and managers, but also allows workers to focus on achieving goals in short term, manageable steps rather than as broader, abstract yearly resolutions which can be difficult to implement and monitor.


Some HR experts recommend setting year-long goals at the start of the school year, with check-up sessions held at least twice a year to monitor how well a teacher is meeting their objectives.


Short term goals and reviews have proven successful in the private sector, with companies which set near-term goals more likely to be in the top quartile for financial performance than those which set annual objectives.


For schools to replicate this success, they must however also ensure that the goals set are well-defined and measurable, so that they can readily be used to evaluate employees on the basis of their own performance and progress.


The NUT recommends schools set objectives for appraisal based on the SMART approach, which holds that objectives must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-limited to be effective.


The teachers’ union's guidance suggests a limit of no more than three short-term objectives for any teacher, stating:


“Setting more than three objectives or using sub-targets can lead to unreasonable workload pressures. Objectives should always be set taking account of what can reasonably be expected of a teacher, given the desirability of the teacher achieving a satisfactory work/life balance.  Experience also shows that setting greater numbers of objectives can lead teachers to focus only on those areas of work, to the detriment of other areas of work. “



Improving Performance Management


Educate specialises in helping making performance management easier, faster and more effective.


Educate supports teachers, school leaders, governors and education managers to develop and implement best practice staff performance management systems that deliver improved learning.


To learn more on how Educate can help your school improve its performance management practices please email Carol French on carolfrench@educate.co.uk  or call 020 3411 1080.


Read More

Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Senior Leadership Team, Recruitment, Rentention, Recruitment & Rentention, Academy Finance, Performance Related Pay, Annual Performance Review

Annual Performance Reviews Don't Work

Posted by James de Bass on Dec 14, 2018 9:51:05 AM


Annual performance reviews deemed inaccurate by 45% of HR professionals


Annual performance reviews have long been criticised as a source of anxiety for employers and workers alike, with some faulting the process for being too stressful and time-consuming.


Recent survey statistics however highlight that the yearly appraisal model may not even be particularly effective in assessing and improving employee performance.


According to one US study, 45% of HR professionals do not think that annual performance reviews provide an accurate reflection of an employee’s work.


Meanwhile, just 8% of companies feel that annual reviews are ‘highly effective’ in boosting productivity, with 58% feeling that their performance management strategy was not an efficient use of time.


Despite this, delivering feedback remains an essential and effective tool for strengthening worker morale and improving overall performance, with 69% of employees saying they would work harder if they received more recognition for their work.


Strong performance appraisals and feedback systems are especially crucial in the school system, where teachers frequently report feeling undervalued for the work they do.


Implementing strong feedback channels can help school leaders to maintain staff satisfaction and identify teachers’ career development needs, as well as help to monitor goals for overall school improvement.


Under current regulations, school leaders must complete an annual appraisal for teachers, in which performance is reviewed and objectives are set to improve education quality for pupils.


Teachers must be given a written appraisal report including an assessment of their current performance, input on their professional training and development needs, and a recommendation on pay progressions.


Whilst these mandatory, yearly reviews provide a starting point for teacher performance feedback, concerns regarding their shortcomings underline that they must be supplemented with other forms of feedback to maintain school performance.


By working to introduce a culture of more open, frequent and informal teacher performance feedback, school leaders can boost job satisfaction amongst teachers, refocus staff on school objectives, and bolster school performance.



Rising demand for frequent, less formal reviews


Whilst the yearly appraisal model has been in place in many organisations for decades, recent research indicates that workers appreciate and benefit from receiving feedback in a more frequent and less formal manner.


Providing feedback on performance in real time rather than gathering comments over a twelve-month period can help workers to attach comments to specific incidents and therefore better evaluate and learn from their actions, as well as strengthening communication between management and employees and making staff feel more recognised.


This in turn can translate to a boost in employee engagement and business productivity, with one study finding that nearly half (43%) of employees assessed as ‘highly engaged’ received at least weekly feedback.


In another study, employers that implemented an ongoing feedback model reported improvements to employee engagement in 32% of cases.


These results align with workers’ own opinions– in a poll carried out by PwC, nearly 60% of respondents said that they would like to receive feedback on a daily or weekly basis.


This number increased to 72% for employees under the age of 30 – highlighting a particular desire amongst the younger workforce for frequent performance feedback.


80% of younger workers stated that they preferred receiving on-the-spot feedback – whether positive or negative – to formal, periodic reviews, reporting that regular feedback helped them understand what was expected of them and bolstered their professional development.


In managing trainees teachers and those in the early stages of their career, school leaders may therefore particularly benefit from making an effort to provide informal, day to day feedback.


This sort of more casual, conversational performance review equips less-experienced staff to progress with specific, immediate direction and helps to strengthen relationships between new teachers and management.


Indeed, throughout experience levels, casual and regular feedback can boost performance, job satisfaction and even retention rates – with 75% of workers across all ages rating frequent feedback as helpful.



Experts advise schools to instate ‘open door policy’ on feedback


In order to implement an effective casual appraisal approach, school leaders must pay attention to the content as well as frequency of their feedback.


Comments on performance should be linked to strength specific appraisals of a teacher’s working style, so that employees are clear about where they are doing well as well as where they need to change their approach.


Strength-specific feedback has been linked to improved worker performance as well as to increased worker motivation and morale.


A Gallup study of 65,672 employees found a 14.9% lower turnover rate at organisations where workers received feedback on their strengths.


School leaders should equally ensure that the onus of an ‘open door policy’ rests with them.


Education experts advise that school leaders use informal feedback – whether delivered in person or by email –  to “seek out teacher voice” on an individual level, and “not just during staff meetings or through an annual survey.”


By taking time to give regular, immediate feedback in this way, schools may save themselves time in the long run: resolving issues efficiently, boosting staff satisfaction and improving teacher retention rates.


In turn, the regularity of the approach allows teachers to receive and absorb feedback in a low-pressure environment, without it being directly linked to overarching questions of career and pay progression.


Supplementing traditional appraisals with informal feedback can in this way help school leaders and teachers to communicate more productively – creating an open dialogue around performance and removing the anxiety and confusion from appraisal discussions





Improving Performance Management


Educate specialises in helping making performance management easier, faster and more effective.


Educate supports teachers, school leaders, governors and education managers to develop and implement best practice staff performance management systems that deliver improved learning.


To learn more on how Educate can help your school improve its performance management practices please email Carol French on carolfrench@educate.co.uk  or call 020 3411 1080


Read More

Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Senior Leadership Team, Recruitment, Rentention, Recruitment & Rentention, Academy Finance, Performance Related Pay, Annual Performance Review

Teacher recruitment shortages and "affordable" pay rises

Posted by James de Bass on Nov 26, 2018 8:27:07 AM


Government pledges £10.7m to recruit professionals, PhD grads into teaching


The government has pledged over £10m towards new programmes that aim to encourage business leaders and PhD graduates to retrain as teachers.


Announcing the news, school standards minister Nick Gibb revealed that £10.7m in state funding will be given to Now Teach, Cognition Education and The Brilliant Club to support programmes aimed at recruiting highly qualified candidates into the education workforce.


The investment will go towards recruiting and training hundreds of new, highly qualified teachers over the next two academic years, building on the achievements of already successful programmes.


Each of the schemes run by the chosen organisations targets senior professionals and academics, offering specially tailored packages of support and professional development to career changers throughout their training.


Now Teach has retrained over 120 former professionals – including Nasa scientists, investment bankers and corporate lawyers – to become teachers over the past two years, whilst The Brilliant Club has placed over 270 PhD graduates in schools since 2014.


Cognition Education’s Transition to Teach programme, which focuses on retraining professionals with STEM backgrounds in the North and Midlands, and Now Teach will receive £3m each.


The Brilliant Club’s Researchers in Schools initiative will receive £4.7m to focus on recruiting PhD graduates to teach the EBacc curriculum, with 70% of trainees to specialise in maths and physics.


Each organisation has set a goal of recruiting 100 teachers per year.


Cognition Education chief executive Tina Lucas said the group was “delighted” with the government’s new strategy and its potential to transform education quality, stating:


“Individuals with successful professional careers can bring extensive experience and expertise to the classroom and students and schools can benefit enormously from their knowledge and skills.”


Dame Sue John, chair of The Brilliant Club, similarly welcomed the news, adding that the government’s support will “enable [The Brilliant Club] to support even more PhD researchers to enter the classroom, with a stated commitment to sharing their deep subject expertise and supporting young people from under-represented backgrounds to progress to university.”



Analysts warn of growing teacher shortage


In total, the funding for the teacher recruitment programmes will train approximately 600 new, highly skilled candidates as teachers in a bid to tackle the nationwide school staffing shortage.


450,000 teachers currently work in schools across Britain, with government statistics indicating that 32,710 trainee teachers were recruited last year– up by 815 (3%) from 2016.


The National Foundation for Education Research and others however have warned of a fast-developing staffing crisis in state schools, as pupil numbers increase and fewer new teachers remain in the profession for the long term.


Poor teacher recruitment rates have been attributed in part to comparatively low salary prospects for trainees – especially as private sector industries recover from the recession – as well as to poor working conditions, with teachers frequently reporting stress and wellbeing issues due to excessive workloads and inadequate support.


Statistics suggest that as many as 1 in 3 new teachers is currently leaving teaching within five years of qualifying.


Government policy has also been blamed for recruitment problems, with the Department for Education restructuring teaching recruitment funding and targets this decade to favour teacher training via the School Direct route and cutting funding for long-running university teacher training courses, thus placing more strain on schools themselves to fund teacher training.


Last year, British business leaders including partners at Goldman Sachs, Citi and Deloitte urged the government to incentivise more graduates to teach in STEM subjects, after social mobility charity Teach First predicted that the economy could face a deficit of 3m skilled workers by 2022 due partly to education inequality.


Staffing shortages are particularly acute for STEM subjects where skilled graduates have significantly higher earning prospects in other fields. Research shows that the majority of state schools currently hire maths and physics teachers without degrees in their subject.


In addition to funding recruitment programmes, the government has announced several other new measures to tackle the issue of teacher shortages.


Earlier this year, the Department for Education pledged a £508m grant to fund a pay increase of up to 3.5% for teachers in the main pay range, with policy makers also moving to introduce more flexible working practices in schools.


The government nonetheless maintains that “this generation of teachers is better qualified than ever” citing that 98.7% of all teachers currently teaching have at least one degree – up 4.4% since 2010. Nearly one in five trainee teachers in 2018 holds a first-class degree, according to the DfE.



Education Secretary consults on “affordable” teacher pay rise


The news of boosted funding for recruitment programmes comes as Education Secretary Damian Hinds consults with leaders in the schools sector over the level of a teacher pay rise needed to “promote recruitment and retention.”


Writing to School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) chair Dr Patricia Rice, Mr. Hinds sought input from the advisory body on “what adjustments should be made to the salary and allowance ranges for classroom teachers, unqualified teachers and school leaders” in the upcoming 2019-20 pay deal.


However, the request emphasised the need for any recommendations to be “affordable” – with the government previously ignoring the STRB’s recommendations of a 3.5% pay rise for teaching staff on all pay scales earlier this year, to instead award the raise to teachers on the main pay scale only, with schools to cover the first 1% of pay increases.


Some school leaders who responded to the letter took issue with this stipulation, citing the need for proper investment in education after years of austerity cuts and in light of a growing teacher deficit.


Noting that “an extra 47,000 teachers are needed over the next five years to meet the pupil increase in our schools,” Association of School and College Leaders President Richard Sheriff stated that the country simply cannot “afford not to invest in its education system.”


Elsewhere in his letter, the Education Secretary reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring that “schools are able to recruit, retain and fairly reward the teachers they need” and noted that affordability was just one factor in “a range of evidence” which the DfE asked the advisory board to consider.


Underlining the centrality of teacher recruitment concerns in new policies, Mr Hinds pointed to budget increases and the handing of more control over staff pay to schools “so they can reward the most experienced teachers and attract the brightest and best.”




Improving Performance Management


Educate specialises in helping making performance management easier, faster and more effective.


Educate supports teachers, school leaders, governors and education managers to develop and implement best practice staff performance management systems that deliver improved learning.


To learn more on how Educate can help your school improve its performance management practices please email Carol French on carolfrench@educate.co.uk  or call 020 3411 1080


Read More

Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Senior Leadership Team, Recruitment, Rentention, Recruitment & Rentention, Academy Finance, Performance Related Pay

Third of RSE teachers are untrained

Posted by Friday Update on Nov 19, 2018 7:59:13 AM


Nearly a third of RSE teachers are untrained


Twenty-nine per cent of teachers currently teaching Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in schools are doing so with no training on the curriculum whatsoever, with a further 38% receiving only “inadequate” training, a new study suggests. 

Research conducted by the Sex Education Forum (SEF) and PSHE Association uncovered concerning pitfalls in the current delivery of relationship and sex education at English schools.

SEF director Lucy Emmerson underlined that training teachers was fundamental to creating an effective RSE course, stating: “The vital ingredient in effective RSE is the people who teach it.”

 As a result of insufficient training, many teachers expressed a lack of confidence in fully tackling all issues on the new RSE syllabus, with many reporting uncertainty discussing topics such as contraception and STIs with pupils.

A fifth of teachers surveyed meanwhile said that they were not confident in their ability to adapt their teaching for children with special educational needs and disabilities or to make their guidance inclusive of LGBT relationships.

The results come less than two years before instruction in the subject becomes mandatory under new legislation.

As of September 2020, Relationship Education at primary level and Relationship and Sex Education at secondary level will be required in all schools.


According to the Department of Education, the new course aims to fulfil the “Government’s ambition to support all young people to stay safe and prepare for life in modern Britain.”


Paediatricians call for broader LGBT teaching in primary schools


Whilst many childcare and education professionals support the new RSE curriculum and its efforts to equip "all young people" for the changes and challenges of adolescence, some have urged for more to be done with regard to the course’s inclusivity.


In particular, students who do not align with the normative, heterosexual relationship expectations of most sex education are often underserved, with no discussion of LGBT relationships or people whatsoever currently at the primary school level.


The Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health (RCPCH) holds that this must change, stating that more inclusion of LGBT students is needed in both primary school level RE teaching and at secondary school RSE level. 


Under current legislative proposals, the government will leave schools free to decide how to address LGBT issues on their RSE syllabus, provided that instruction is “sensitive and age-appropriate.”


RCPCH leaders however say that more concrete protections of LGBT pupils’ Relationships and Sex Education are needed, noting that non-heterosexual students deserve to be educated and given pastoral school guidance on their sexual development no less than their peers.


Indeed, it is said pastoral care and RSE guidance may be even more essential for children whose own developing, adolescent identities are in the minority and do not mimic that of the vast majority of their peers.


Such proposals would follow the model of countries like Scotland, which has become the first in the world to legally require its state schools to recognise the LGBT community, by teaching pupils about LGBT rights, oppression and history.


The paediatricians say that it would be “helpful” for children to “learn the meaning of terms such as lesbian, gay and bisexual” early on, with college officer Dr.Max Davie imploring policy-makers: “We need to talk to children like they are intelligent beings. They are curious.”



SEF and PSHE Association launch toolkit for schools


In order to help school leaders get their curricula in shape in time, the Sex Education Forum and PSHE Association have created a set of guidelines dubbed the ‘Roadmap to Statutory RSE’, backed by industry representatives including the NEU and the National Association of Head Teachers’ union, Voice.

Alongside preparing teachers with CPD training, the bodies advise that schools themselves plan well ahead for the 2020 deadline - as a first step implementing a focused leadership team to prepare and deliver the curriculum on time.

This team might include members of senior school leadership, lead staff for RSE and PSHE, and a governor.

In addition, it is important that school leaders develop their courses with the individual needs of their school and pupils in mind — both through the creating a schoolwide RSE policy as statutorily required and by conducting pupil assessments before developing course content, to ensure that reaching is tailored to students’ needs.

RSE developers could also invite feedback from community and parents to gain broader insight into the relationship issues facing students in both school and home life.

Once implemented, any RSE teaching should be constantly open to review and update.

This ensures that teaching remains relevant and engaging for students, with lesson activities able to more closely reflect real life scenarios -  for example, interactions online - with which students will likely be faced.



Improving Performance Management


Educate specialises in helping making performance management easier, faster and more effective.


Educate supports teachers, school leaders, governors and education managers to develop and implement best practice staff performance management systems that deliver improved learning.


To learn more on how Educate can help your school improve its performance management practices please email Carol French on carolfrench@educate.co.uk  or call 020 3411 1080


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Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Senior Leadership Team, Recruitment, Rentention, Recruitment & Rentention, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Association of Teachers of Mathematics

Cutting the  Teacher Workload

Posted by Friday Update on Nov 10, 2018 1:46:16 AM


Education Secretary vows to supports schools in cutting teacher workload


Education Secretary Damian Hinds has vowed that the government will stop requesting pupil statistics and analysis from schools beyond each “school’s existing format,” after a governmental advisory group’s report found that UK teachers are “drowning in meaningless data.”


Research from the Workload Advisory Group – set up by the Department for Education to monitor teacher workloads – found that teachers are too often feeling obliged to devote hours every week to collecting data which ultimately serves no use.


The report found that a culture of data collection is impacting teachers’ workloads, with teachers spending less than half their work week teaching in order to make time for paperwork, planning, marking and other tasks.


In response to the findings, leading figures in British education including Education Secretary Damian Hinds and Ofsted head Amanda Spielman co-signed a letter to head teachers, encouraging schools to feel confident in “cutting out unnecessary work and helping staff devote their energies to teaching.”


Hinds acknowledged that “Many teachers are having to work way too many hours each week on unnecessary tasks, including excessive time spent on marking and data analysis.”


He further clarified that “Frequent data drops and excessive monitoring of a child’s progress are not required by Ofsted or by the Department for Education.”


Nonetheless, the WAG found that the government and Ofsted were contributing to the “audit culture” facing schools – with teachers being asked to record, monitor and analyse data for both Ofsted and local and central government as well as various levels of school management.


Report blames “audit culture” for teacher burnouts


The report highlighted a “spurious precision” in current monitoring of student performance, with some teachers surveyed being expected to analyse as many as 30 different elements of data for 30 children in a class.


It found that this obsession with statistics was having a negative impact on teachers’ wellbeing, with many suffering from anxiety and burnouts due to the administrative pressures of data collection.


The workload of teachers in England is frequently cited amongst the highest in the world by researchers, with several reports blaming excessive workload for the number of experienced British teachers leaving education.


Chair of the Workload Advisory Group and UCL Institute of Education professor Becky Allen underlined that her group’s research demonstrated that “widespread data practices …don’t help pupil progress but do increase teacher workload”.


The advisory group’s recommendations to remedy the problem included calls for a renewed support for school leaders in altering policies to cut down on useless data collection.


This support should be reinforced by government and regulatory officials no longer requesting data attainment from schools beyond statutory requirements.


In addition, the report recommends that Ofsted inspectors be required to take into consideration whether a school’s data collection practices are efficient when evaluating campuses.



Data collection not effective in boosting pupil performance


Hinds agreed with the report’s suggestions that the culture of data collection was likely damaging the quality of actual teaching, stating:

“As a teacher you want to inspire children, you want to develop them, you want to bring the absolute best out of every child.”

“You’re much more likely to be able to do that to best effect if you’re sharp and wide awake and not frustrated by filling in a load of Excel spreadsheets.”

In a bid to address the issue, the Education Secretary promised to produce new guidance for the government’s workload reduction tool kit.

The new advice will encourage schools to avoid requiring teachers to write lengthy, descriptive data input or use complicated behaviour codes in labelling students and will also emphasise that all data collection should be factored into school time rather than expected of teachers after hours.

In addition, the government will look into whether schools would benefit from a separate “tool or checklist on effective data use”, with such a tool to be developed and rolled out next year if results are positive.

The Department for Education did not take up the advisory report’s recommendation to discourage academy trusts from requesting performance data updates from all their schools and not just those that are failing, instead simply saying that it would “communicate this expectation to local authorities.”

Since the report however, the department has published new advice for initial teacher training (ITT) providers, ordering providers not to impose “overly burdensome” workloads on trainee teachers.

The government guidance asks providers to “stop trainees from carrying out any tasks that are established through custom rather than evidence” and urges them to take steps to safeguard the mental health of trainees, by teaching “good habits” including effective time management and resilience strategies.

Improving Performance Management


Educate specialises in helping making performance management easier, faster and more effective.


Educate supports teachers, school leaders, governors and education managers to develop and implement best practice staff performance management systems that deliver improved learning.


To learn more on how Educate can help your school improve its performance management practices please email Carol French on carolfrench@educate.co.uk  or call 020 3411 1080


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Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Senior Leadership Team, Recruitment, Rentention, Recruitment & Rentention, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Association of Teachers of Mathematics

Non-graduate teaching training scheme shelved

Posted by Friday Update on Nov 2, 2018 10:54:06 AM

Non-graduate teaching training scheme shelved

Plans to launch a teaching apprenticeship scheme for those who have not attended university have been scrapped, after research into the proposals found a lack of demand.

The scheme was proposed by the same group of schools and teacher training bodies which created the current level 6 teaching apprenticeship programme for university graduates.

The Trailblazer group advised that an “undergraduate” apprenticeship would boost the state education workforce by helping teaching assistants to qualify.

The Institute for Apprenticeships asked the group to gather feedback from school leaders and training providers on the issue, but subsequent research indicated a lack of interest amongst industry stakeholders.

Government teacher training adviser and Trailblazer group member Sir Andrew Carter admitted of the survey’s results: “There wasn’t a great deal of enthusiasm for a non-graduate entry at this stage.”

The plans, which would have opened up the path to teacher qualification significantly, have been shelved indefinitely and are unlikely to be revisited for at least another twelve months.

Education sector leaders have expressed a mixture of responses to the idea, with some expressing concern over a “dumbing down” of the teaching profession.

Speaking on behalf of the National Association of School Based-Teacher Trainers, director Emma Hollis said she was “very disappointed” with the proposal’s suspension.

Hollis added that the NASBTT “felt there was a lot of need for [non-graduate teacher training], a lot of demand for it”, based on “clear anecdotal evidence from various different regions.”

Others however say that opening teacher training to non-university graduates could bolster the sector’s waning workforce and would appeal to candidates with practical classroom experience.

The news comes as newly announced government budget measures present a threat to funding for teacher training.

Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s Autumn Budget set out plans to halve the amount that non-levy paying companies must contribute towards trainee apprenticeships from 10% to 5%.

NQTs to receive extra year of induction

Whilst teacher training for non-graduates remains off the table for now, significant changes to the graduate trainee apprenticeship remain on the horizon — as plans to instate an extra year of induction for new teachers go ahead.

The Early Career Framework will still see future trainees awarded Qualified Teacher Status after one year of training, but will then require two years of NQT induction rather than one.

The Department of Education hopes that increasing the teacher training period from two years to three years will provide more guidance and support for trainee teachers.

The new framework is set to be piloted at schools in the North East next year, with a view to being rolled out across the country in 2020 if successful.

Some education professionals have said the ECF proposal could be a “game changer” in bolstering teacher training and subsequently improving retention rates amongst new teachers.

Others however have voiced concerns that the change will simply heap more “scrutiny” and pressure onto new teachers and add to school’s burgeoning workloads.

Questions of funding figure centrally in industry stakeholders’ reservations regarding the plans.

Teacher training providers warned in October that the government department must make an “early commitment” to cover schools’ costs if the induction period for trainee teachers is lengthened.

NASBT leader Emma Hollis said the proposals could be transformative if “done properly”, but noted:

“CPD is really expensive and schools do not have enough money as it is, so if you are going to give the entitlement of two years CPD that has got to be funded.”

Funding issues have already caused damage to providers of the new Further Education teaching apprenticeship, with delays to regulatory approval for training standards leading to a postponement of state grants.

After nearly two years, Leeds City College Group are still awaiting £150,000 in overdue funding for their first cohort of apprentices and say that their ability to sustain new intakes has suffered as a result.

College principal Colin Booth says the lack of funding has stunted the training programme’s growth and is particularly frustrating “given how difficult it is to recruit teachers in engineering and maths – we have people on the waiting list… and the standard just isn’t available.”

Addressing criticism of the ECF proposal, Department of Education deputy director Gareth Conyard pointed out that the additional year simply put the training period for teachers on a par with that of other professions such as law, architecture and accountancy.

The education policymaker dismissed concerns about the ECF adding “an extra level of scrutiny” for trainees and maintained that the proposal was instead targeted at “creating a system of support and development” for new teachers.

With regard to questions of funding the additional support however, the DfE was unable to give firm commitments, as it is still “working out costs.”

Mr. Conyard said the government would work to “make sure” the measure did not place “an unusual financial burden on schools,” but added:

“What I can’t do is say, 'That means we’re putting x million pounds extra into the system,' because some of the questions we are trying to work through in terms of delivery will have an impact on that final cost.”

Gov report shows trainees with bursaries more likely to leave

Discussion of state spending on teacher training has been further enlivened recently by a new government report which indicates that the bursary awards scheme for trainee teachers is showing poor returns on investment.

Parliament’s public accounts committee first drew attention to the issue two years ago, warning that the government was investing too heavily in recruitment and training whilst neglecting efforts to boost retention.

New data published by the government seems to corroborate this, showing a trend whereby investment in training is simply leading candidates to take advantage of funding in the state sector before promptly leaving for private schools or other industries.

Although 101,000 out of 108,800 trainee teachers awarded bursaries between 2009-10 and 2015-16 went on to qualify, 11% of those who qualified had not gone on to work in a state school.

Concerningly, those without any bursary whatsoever were more likely to remain teaching in state schools than those funded to train, with only 9% of qualifying non-funded trainees moving straight out of public education.

Similarly, while the sliding scale of bursary values aimed at attracting high quality, in-demand teachers to state schools, results showed that this did not pay off — with those awarded top grants leaving the sector in higher numbers.

The value of bursaries awarded ranged from £4,000 to £25,000, based on academic qualification and subject.

A fifth of all trainees who were awarded the highest bursary sum and went on to qualify subsequently left state school education immediately.

National Education Union general secretary Mary Bousted called the government’s lack of knowledge around this investment inefficacy “astounding.”

Bousted stressed that it was crucial for ministers to now ascertain whether “the millions of pounds spent on bursaries could be better spent in other, more effective ways to put desperately needed teachers in school classrooms.”

The National Audit Office estimates that nearly £1 billion in public funding was spent on bursaries in the 2015-6 school year, without any proper analysis of the effectiveness of this investment.

Government analysts attributed the lower retention rates amongst more highly subsidised trainees to increased competition for top candidates, since “graduates in high-value bursary subjects are typically in greater demand elsewhere in the labour market.”

In response, officials are trialling a scheme to stagger bursary payments for trainees over a longer period, requiring trainees to serve a certain length of time in the national education system before receiving their grant.

Under the pilot initiative, maths teacher trainees are being offered reduced bursaries of £20,000, with instalments of £5,000 each paid to trainees after three years and five years of working in a state school.

Schools minister Nick Gibb maintained that despite disappointing returns, bursaries in general and particularly “increased bursaries for certain subjects, including history and design and technology” were nonetheless vital even if not sufficient in “helping to attract people to the profession.”

Improving Performance Management

Educate specialises in helping making performance management easier, faster and more effective.

Educate supports teachers, school leaders, governors and education managers to develop and implement best practice staff performance management systems that deliver improved learning.

To learn more on how Educate can help your school improve its performance management practices please email Carol French on carolfrench@educate.co.uk or call 020 3411 1080

Read More

Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Senior Leadership Team, Recruitment, Rentention, Recruitment & Rentention, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Association of Teachers of Mathematics

Teacher workforce "in trouble" as recruitment and retention sink

Posted by Friday Update on Oct 26, 2018 10:09:19 AM

Research from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) concludes that “the overall teacher labour market in England is in trouble,” with fewer teachers both joining and staying in the profession.

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Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Senior Leadership Team, Recruitment, Rentention, Recruitment & Rentention, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Association of Teachers of Mathematics

Unions seek tighter financial regulation for Academy Trusts

Posted by Friday Update on Oct 19, 2018 11:22:05 AM

Union leaders are calling for closer financial supervision of academies, as several large, multi-academy trusts are served with financial notices to improve by regulators.

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Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Senior Leadership Team, funding, Academy Finance, Academy Conversion, Academies Funding

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