What have you learned about English education throughout 2023?
Insights from 2023 on reducing teacher workload, Ofsted, resource demands and online teaching trends across English education …
Here are some insights to give you a sense of everything I’ve been doing throughout the year in my bid to learn from (and support) teachers to work more efficiently.
1. Workload is reducing
Whilst this message might be surprising to many and may also not be the case in every school, research suggests workload is reducing for reachers.
What I’ve learned from … working with 6,500s teachers this year is that everyone is working flat out, and marking is still the biggest gripe!
2. Watching the watchdog
Prior to the tragic death of Ruth Perry, the unintended consequences of school inspections were very clear to me. New research suggests that grading schools widens the disadvantage gap, not reduces it and that inspections cause significant harm to head teachers. I’ve set up my alternatives to grading – I have thought about this deeply – but I know it is not an easy solution.
What I’ve learned from … researching Ofsted over the last seven years is that even with a new HMCI, any changes are, at best, most likely to be tinkering at the edges.
3. Teachers want resources
On the blog, 858,000 people have read over 4.5 million events across this site, with most downloading resources. In teacher training sessions, whilst cognitive science and education research is helpful, teachers lack significant amounts of time and need to cut to the chase! Just show them how to use classroom resources in a quick fashion!
What I’ve learned from … sharing resources is that no matter how hard I try, the 5-minute lesson plan remains the most used resource, with 4.5 million downloads globally. I’ve released an artificial intelligence version too!
4. Online teacher behaviours
Peak reading time remains at 68% across the UK, always across Sundays to Thursdays, from 7-9 PM. This has been the case for many years, which is why blog posts and resources are shared at these times to suit your reading habits. Interestingly, for almost a decade, teachers accessed the site on Sunday evenings, but I suspect as website traffic increases, more people tune in from across the globe. Tuesdays are now the most popular time to read TT.
What I’ve learned from … analytics is that all teachers read about teaching after working hours (no surprise!) and just for 72 seconds. Oh, and don’t bother sharing anything on a Saturday!
5. Teaching challenges remain the same …
I’ve visited 49 schools and colleges throughout 2023, from Abu Dhabi to Belfast and Hull to Bath – over 20,000 miles! Online, only 92 blogs have been published this year, almost 50% fewer than last year, with 52 new resources. The most popular blog post of the year was 5 Tips for Succeeding as a Head of Year. Over 10,000 people read it!
What I’ve learned from … writing about the challenges teachers face across the system is that teachers are inundated with the same challenges, regardless of school or college. With the worst recruitment crisis England has ever known, teaching is not getting any easier! Take a look at the funding picture. You and I can only do so much; however, the current government can unlock our full potential.
It’s been another interesting and busy year. Wishing you all the best for the term ahead …
Happy New Year!