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REPORT: Working in Schools – job quality study

Private Education Policy Forum has contributed extensive research into a study commissioned by the National Education Union (the UK’s biggest teacher trade union) focused on job quality for teachers, before and after the pandemic lockdowns.

Findings include job quality being worse in schools:

  • where staff are expecting a school inspection
  • located in areas of high social deprivation.

The job quality of teaching professionals has not improved since the pandemic and has, in some respects, worsened.

By contrast, the job quality of comparable occupations has improved. In relative terms, the working conditions in schools have therefore worsened.

Teaching is both a rewarding and demanding job, but the findings of this report suggest that it is becoming even more demanding.

Without change, it will be difficult to tackle the acute recruitment and retention crisis facing the sector.

The study also compares aspects of job quality in state and private schools, with key findings below:

  • Exhaustion levels varied significantly between private and state school staff. There was a 13 percentage point gap between both sectors who report that they always feel exhausted at the end of the day, with private school colleagues reporting being less exhausted.
  • Job quality in the private sector is better in some respects. For example, 48 per cent and 72 per cent of those working in private schools report having a great deal of influence in selecting what tasks to do and how to do them, compared to only 39 per cent and 60 per cent in the state sector.
  • However, in some respects those working in the state school sector fare better (see full report).

The issue of job quality between the private and state sector will be explored further in a future report.

The other contributors to the report were Cardiff University, Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data, and the UCL Institute of Education.


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