‘A glass half full or half empty?’ Teachers’ reflections on measures to improve standards of teaching
last updated:01 Dec 2010
GTCE publishes results of 2010 Survey of Teachers
Policies designed to improve teaching and learning receive a mixed review from the profession in a new survey of teachers published today, Wednesday 1 December.
The survey, undertaken for the GTCE by the National Foundation for Educational Research, shows that while more than half of teachers (53 per cent) said performance management “helped” them to identify their support needs, only a quarter (28 per cent) said it was a key driver in actually helping them improve their teaching.
45 per cent said they have access to relevant continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities to help them meet the objectives set through performance management; 26 per cent disagreed with this.
Views were evenly divided on whether performance management of teachers has a beneficial impact on their pupils ~ one third said yes, one third no, and a quarter was undecided.
The current professional standards framework also received a varying response from teachers. Seen as important for new teachers and for those working to achieve higher professional status, only a quarter (24 per cent) say the standards have a direct impact on their day to day work.
Encouragingly, a large majority of teachers are confident that they understand the professional standards framework (79 per cent) and 61 per cent say they know where to find relevant research. However, more than two fifths (42 per cent) say they don’t have time to use research and one in three respondents report no encouragement from their schools to do so. A majority (60 per cent) would like to conduct their own research and one in three (33 per cent) have done so in the last year. However more than half (58 per cent) of respondents say time constraints are a barrier.
More positively, an overwhelming 95 per cent of teachers believe that they have a responsibility to maintain and improve their practice and a strong majority report that they have taken part in collaborative learning with colleagues in and beyond the school. Around three quarters say that peer observation and feedback and pupil feedback are valuable aids to improving practice.
Two thirds of teachers (67 per cent) say that continuing professional development has had a positive impact on their teaching practice, but nearly a third are dissatisfied with their access to adequate CPD opportunities. Overall the proportion of teachers who say they have had access to adequate CPD has reduced from 62 per cent in 2009 to 48 per cent this year.
The GTCE Survey of Teachers provides a unique insight into teacher experience and opinion. It presents findings from a fully representative sample of the teacher workforce in England, including part time and supply teachers, giving a high degree of confidence that the survey has reliable and valid data to inform policy thinking.
Commenting on the 2010 survey, GTCE Director of Policy Sarah Stephens said:
'The survey reflects well on teachers, showing them to be strongly committed to improving and developing their practice. It shows that teachers are interested in using research to improve their teaching, despite the time constraints they face. Teacher-to-teacher and pupil-to-teacher feedback are both strongly supported; sure signs of a mature and confident profession.
'The survey also throws up some challenges – neither performance management nor the current professional standards framework are thought to be as effective as they need to be in driving forward improvements in teaching.'
Notes to editors
The 2010 survey reports are on the GTCE website.
The 2010 survey was carried out for the GTCE by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). It explored teachers’ experiences of the different forms of support they receive to help them maintain and develop their teaching practice. Questionnaires were distributed and completed between March and May 2010.
The survey was also sent to an additional booster sample of teachers defining themselves as being from a Black or Minority Ethnic (BME) group. Reliable research into the perspectives of BME teachers is relatively scarce and, historically, the number of BME teachers who have participated in the GTC’s surveys has been small. Historically, the GTC Register has not contained information on the ethnicity of all teachers, therefore this booster sample aimed to ensure that views from these groups of teachers have been collected and to facilitate statistically meaningful analysis of results by ethnicity. These findings are outlined in a separate report.
Teachers were asked for their views on:
- their participation in Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
- their involvement in activities to improve teaching practice
- use of observation and feedback
- use of research
- performance management; and
- the professional standards.
The survey gathered the views of a nationally representative sample of teachers, drawn from the GTC’s Register of Teachers, and was conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). The final response figure for the main sample was 4,392, which was 33 per cent of the 13,500 teachers contacted. In addition to providing analysis of the basic frequencies of the responses, NFER conducted more sophisticated analyses, including factor analysis and statistical modelling.
The survey is accompanied by a qualitative report, also undertaken by NFER, focusing on teachers’ motivations for engaging in practice improvement, the influences behind teachers’ choices regarding development activities, and what facilitates and impedes improvement.
About the General Teaching Council for England
The GTCE is the independent professional and regulatory body for teaching in England. Its overall purpose is to work in the public interest to help improve standards of teaching and learning.
About the National Foundation for Educational Research
NFER is the UK’s largest independent provider of research, assessment, and information services for education, training and children’s services. We make a difference to learners of all ages, especially to the lives of children and young people, by ensuring our work improves the practice and understanding of those who work with and for learners.