Behind the Education Headlines in April


 DfE to stop reporting Covid absences

The government has returned to Pre-Covid updates on the absence. The DfE removed their "questions on pupil absence due to COVID-19" which means that there will no longer be a record of absences caused by Covid. Schools will now include any Covid related absences under the 'illness' code on the register.

However, it could be seen a natural step in the de-escalation of Covid measures as free testing for pupils and staff has now ended. 

NEU publishes State of Education

The National Education Union released their annual survey of their members. This year's State of Education shows a rise in teachers who are planning on leaving the profession within the next few years. Almost a quarter (22%) of teachers intend plan to change their career by 2024 with an additional 22% who want to leave by 2027.

52% of teachers say that their workload is "unmanageable", which is a huge increase from 35% last year. An additional 30% said that their workload was "only just manageable". 60% of teachers in maintained schools say that they feel anxious at least half of the time. In fact, workload is the primary motivation for most of the teachers (65%) who are planning to leave. Not feeling "valued or trusted by the Government and media", accountability and pay were also top reasons. 

Private schools do not have an impact on long-term happiness 

A study by University College London has found that attending private school does not lead to any significant increase in long-term happiness. The study uses the data from the Next Steps study which is currently following 16,000 people from when they began year 9 in 2004 to now.

Currently, in their 30s, the cohort who attended private or public schools did have higher satisfaction in their 20s. Using the data 2010 (20 years old) and 2015 (25 years old), the researchers found each of the student's life satisfaction. They then adjusted the results to exclude more obvious advantages such as income, and exam results, however, they found that no major increase in happiness.

There was some evidence that 16-year-old girls in private schools have slightly better mental health than their maintained school equivalents. However, this is not significant and does not extend past the teenage years. The article also states that there is a possibility that now that mental health had been brought more into the spotlight in recent years, private schools have been able to put more resources into their mental health provision. This may increase the gap between private and maintained schools, which often do not have the budget for adequate well-being facilities.

Although the results do not 'prove causality', they show that it is unlikely that when parents choose to pay to send their children to private school get any benefit in their children's life satisfaction. This is not the most common reason why parents would send their children to private school.

Research by Sutton Trust in 2019, found that although the 'over-representation' of private school leavers in Britains' elite is reducing, the change is slow. 40% of the country's elite were privately educated instead of 7% of the general population. The following are the percentages of who attended private schools in certain professions:

  • 65% of senior judges
  • 57% of Lords
  • 52% of diplomats
  • 49% of officers in armed forces (Major General and above)
  • 44% of newspaper columnists

A survey by YouGov found that 44% of people who attended state school feel that their career would have been much better if they had attended private school. 73% of the public believe that the school that their child attends had at least some effect on their chances of success. However, more people believe that the standard of teaching (89%) and the child's intelligence (88%) have a bigger impact.

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