Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

'More Must Be Done to Give Teaching the Status It Deserves'

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

'More Must Be Done to Give Teaching the Status It Deserves'

Article excerpt

'Worrying' figures reveal 81% of school staff feel undervalued

Eight in 10 teachers do not feel valued by society, according to a survey by TES and YouGov, which provides an insight into how low morale has sunk within the profession.

Overall, 81 per cent of the workforce say the teaching profession is undervalued by the wider public, with the proportion jumping to 91 per cent among headteachers. The figures were described as "worrying" by the chief executive of Teach First.

According to the poll of more than 600 teachers, discontent is consistent across the board, regardless of whether the respondents are classroom teachers, senior leaders or supply teachers.

Vic Goddard, principal of Passmores Academy and star of Educating Essex, said the way teachers were portrayed in the mainstream media was a crucial factor (see panel, right). The profession's image had also been tarnished in the eyes of the public by the impact of industrial action and "the negativity directed towards us by those who are supposedly in charge of improving education nationally", he added.

"There seems to be a default setting within the media, especially the written media, of blaming the profession for everything negative that is reported about young people," Mr Goddard said. "It's worth remembering that only 15 to 18 per cent of childhood is spent in school."

The figures show the profession is still pessimistic about its place in society despite ministers' attempts to alleviate teachers' workload and improve the relationship with the workforce.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan has repeatedly attempted to boost morale among teachers, calling them "heroes" in her speech at the Conservative Party conference in September.

And just this week, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg promised to restore morale. "I get very distressed when I hear how teachers feel they have been somewhat put upon in recent years," he said on the campaign trail, adding that he would "celebrate, not denigrate, the great, noble profession".

Brett Wigdortz, founder and chief executive of Teach First, said his organisation had helped to raise the status of teaching, but added that the figures showed more needed to be done.

"Teach First is proud to have played a part in raising the status of the profession, with teaching now being seen as one of the most prestigious careers for the country's graduates," Mr Wigdortz said. …

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