THE STATUS OFTEACHERS AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION IN ENGLAND:VIEWS FROM INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE PROFESSIONSYNTHESIS FORTHE FINAL REPORTof theTEACHER STATUS PROJECTLinda Hargreaves, Mark Cunningham, Anders Hansen*,Donald McIntyre and Caroline OliverUniversity of Cambridge Faculty of Educationand*Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester
Table of ContentsGLOSSARY . IIIACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . IVEXECUTIVE SUMMARY . 1CHAPTER 1: THE TEACHER STATUS PROJECT: INTRODUCTION, AIMS ANDJUSTIFICATION . 10CHAPTER 2: THE STATUS OF TEACHERS AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION: DOES ITMATTER? . 15INTRODUCTION . 15DOES STATUS MATTER? . 15WHAT DO WE MEAN BY STATUS? . 17THE MAKING OF TEACHER STATUS: INFLUENTIAL DOMAINS . 19THE POTENTIAL TO RAISE TEACHER STATUS . 28SUMMARY . 29CHAPTER 3: STATUS STABILITY OR STATUS CHANGE? TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OFTHEIR STATUS IN 2003 AND 2006 . 31TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THE STATUS OF THEIR PROFESSION . 31DEFINING A HIGH STATUS PROFESSION . 33THE COMPARATIVE STATUS OF TEACHERS AND OTHER OCCUPATIONS . 37WHAT FACTORS COULD IMPROVE TEACHER STATUS? . 38SUMMARY . 48CHAPTER 4: THE NEWS MEDIA REPRESENTATION OF TEACHERS AND EDUCATION. 50NATIONAL AND REGIONAL NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF TEACHERS AND EDUCATION, 2003 AND 2005 . 50NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF TEACHERS AND EDUCATION 1991-2002 . 52THE IMAGE OF TEACHERS IN NEWSPAPER HEADLINES, 1991-2003/2005 . 54PRODUCING EDUCATION COVERAGE: EDUCATION CORRESPONDENTS AND EDITORS IN THE NATIONAL ANDREGIONAL PRESS. . 58SUMMARY . 61CHAPTER 5: UNDERSTANDING THE FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE TEACHERS’PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR STATUS . 63A: TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR STATUS . 64B: THE CENTRALITY OF PERSONAL RELATIONS, PERSONAL COMMITMENT, CONTINUING DEVELOPMENTAND THE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT . 69C: NATIONAL POLICY INITIATIVES . 75SUMMARY . 79CHAPTER 6: HOW CAN PERCEPTIONS OF TEACHER STATUS BE IMPROVED?. 81A: PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS OF THE TEACHING PROFESSION . 81B: MEDIA PERSPECTIVES ON TEACHING . 83C: PROXIMAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE STATUS OF TEACHERS: THE VIEWS OF TEACHING ASSISTANTS,GOVERNORS AND PARENTS . 84D: TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR STATUS . 85E: THE CENTRALITY OF PERSONAL RELATIONS, PERSONAL COMMITMENT AND THE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTIN TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR STATUS . 88F: NATIONAL POLICY INITIATIVES . 91G: THE PERSPECTIVES OF DISTINCTIVE SUB-GROUPS OF TEACHERS . 93CONCLUSIONS. 96REFERENCES . 98APPENDIX TO CHAPTER 3 . 103ii
GLOSSARYAST: Advanced Skills TeacherCPD: Continuing Professional DevelopmentDfEE: Department for Education and EmploymentDfES: Department for Education and SkillsGCSE: General Certificate of Secondary EducationGTC: General Teaching CouncilHLTA: Higher Level Teaching AssistantKS: Key StageNfER: National Federation for Educational ResearchNU(E)T: National Union of Elementary TeachersOECD: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and DevelopmentOfSTED: Office for Standards in EducationONS: Office for National StatisticsPRU: Pupil Referral UnitPRP: Performance Related PaySATs: Standard Attainment TestsSEN: Special Educational NeedsTA: Teaching AssistantTDA: Training and Development Agency for SchoolsTLR: Teaching and Learning ResponsibilitiesTTA: Teacher Training Agency (now the TDA)UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisationiii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSWe would like to express our gratitude to all the teachers, parents, governors and supportstaff, trainee teachers and their tutors who have participated in this research.We also acknowledge valued contributions from former primary colleagues, HollyAnderson and Anne Thwaites (both of University of Cambridge), for their help with thecase studies.We are grateful to members of the Steering Group for their advice and information, andour project managers, Rebecca Rylatt, Gillian Redfearn and James Rushbrooke. Our veryspecial thanks are due to our Project Secretary, Ann Curtis, for her unstinting hard work,patience and good humour throughout this project.The Research TeamAt the University of Cambridge:Linda Hargreaves, Mark Cunningham, Tim Everton, Bev Hopper, Donald McIntyre,Caroline Oliver, Anthony Pell, Martyn Rouse, Penny Turner (2003-5), Mandy Maddock(2002-4), and Louise Wilson (2002-3)At the University of Leicester:Anders Hansen and Jaideep MukherjeeProject Consultants:Robin Alexander and Maurice Galton (University of Cambridge)iv
THE STATUS OF TEACHERSAND THE TEACHING PROFESSION IN ENGLANDExecutive SummaryIntroductionThis executive summary presents the main findings of the Teacher Status Project, anational four year study of public and individual teachers’ perceptions of the status ofteachers and teaching, carried out at the Cambridge University Faculty of Education, andfunded by the Department for Education and Skills. It includes the perspectives of peoplewho come into close contact with teachers, including governors, parents and teachingassistants, as well as a study of media coverage of teachers and education, conducted bythe University of Leicester, Department of Media and Communications. The researchstudy took place between 2002 and 2006. Base-line findings of respondents’ perceptionsof teacher status in 2003 were presented in Hargreaves et al., (2006)1. The presentsummary includes key findings followed by the aims of the research, methods used,further findings and conclusions.Key Findings1) A third of the general public surveyed considered the social status of teachers to bemost like that of social workers, and of headteachers to be most like that of managementconsultants, in 2003 and 2006. Pay had become the second most common reason forseeing teaching as an attractive career by 2006, compared with 2003 (mentioned by 18%in 2003 and 20% in 2006) when it stood in fourth place. Having to control a class wassingularly prominent and seen as an unattractive feature by 32 per cent of respondents in2003 and 34 per cent of respondents in 2006. Nevertheless, about half (49% in 2003 and47% in 2006) the general public surveyed considered teaching to be an attractive career.2) The media representation of teachers has changed to a more sympathetic and positiveportrayal of a profession, contradicting teachers’ common misperception of a hostilepress perpetuating their low status. Schools, in their turn, have become more media‘savvy’ in communicating their activities to the regional press.3) Teachers and associated groups (teaching assistants, governors and parents)consistently perceived teaching as a less rewarded, but more controlled and regulatedprofession than a high status profession. Likewise both groups perceived a steep declinein the status of teachers over the past four decades, starting from relatively high positionsof 4.3 (teachers) and 4.4 (associated groups), on a five-point scale, in 1967. This began to1The 2003 baseline findings are contained in the Interim Report available s/RR755.pdfSee References for full details.1
level out by 1997 when the status of teachers was rated as 2.8 and 3.2 by teachers andassociated groups respectively. By 2006, although low, teachers’ perceptions of theirstatus were higher than they were in 2003 (2.2 in 2003 and 2.5 in 2006). However,associated groups were less negative (2.7 in 2003 and 2.9 in 2006) about the status ofteachers in recent years than were teachers.4) Teachers appeared to be not overly concerned with their external status, neverthelessthey gained a sense of positive status when they felt trusted, appreciated and rewarded byparents and through collaborative work with other professionals. Their schools werecritical in this respect. They felt positive about their status through experiencingsupportive leadership, collaborative working and having time for personal development.The quality of their material working conditions was also believed to shape the regardthey commanded from others.5) Polarisation between schools classified as high achieving or poorly performing becameevident in terms of differential resources and facilities, and disparities in perceivedevaluations by parents and other teachers. This polarisation had a strong impact onteachers’ sense of status, raising that of teachers in high achieving well resourced schoolsbut depressing that of those in poorly performing schools.6) Most teachers welcomed the potential of recent policy initiatives, such as workforcereform and extended schools to raise their status, although the actual effects of recentpolicy were mixed as schools differed in the extent to which these policies wereestablished. This implies a need for locally sensitive implementation and dialogue.7) Some teachers in subgroups including minority ethnic, early years, special educationalneeds (SEN), pupil referral units (PRU), and supply teachers, reported feeling somedegree of marginalisation within the profession. This had depressing effects on theirsense of status. For example, for some minority ethnic teachers, this was on the basis ofperceived stifled promotion opportunities. For many supply teachers this arose throughthe ambivalence with which they were treated by other staff. For some SEN and PRUteachers this was associated with poor working facilities. Just one distinctive subgroupemerged as feeling much higher status and esteem than others: those involved incontinuing professional development (CPD) and research.Research designThe aims of the projectThe project had three main aims, namely:1. to establish a baseline and monitor changes in perceptions of the status of teachersand their profession, among teachers, associated groups and the general public,between 2003 and 20062. to understand the factors that might influence perceptions of status and teachers'attitudes2
3. to identify how perceptions of teacher status can be improved.MethodsThe surveysSurveys for this study included face-to-face surveys of the public (1815 adults (60.5%response rate) in 2003 and 1252 (62.6% response rate) in 2006) who were asked aboutthe attractiveness of a teaching career, the status of teachers compared with otheroccupations and what activities people associated with teaching, and their reasons fortheir responses. Other surveys included national questionnaire surveys of teachers (2350(28.5% response rate) teachers in 2003 and 5340 (40.5% response rate) teachers in 2006),selected through random stratified (by school phase, school size and government officeregion) sampling and surveys of groups associated with teachers (namely teachingassistants, governors and parents) who were also surveyed in 2003 and 2006.Respondents to the surveys of associated groups included 898 people in 2003 and 1851 in2006, representing 18 per cent of individuals but 42 per cent of schools contacted in bothsurveys. Opportunity samples of trainee teachers were surveyed in 2003 (270 trainees),2004 (160 trainees) and 2005 (160 trainees).Data analysis for the surveys of teachers, associated groups and trainee teachers includedfactor analysis and scale construction techniques for each section of the respectivequestionnaires.The media studyThe media study included ‘rolling week’ surveys of 17 national
This executive summary presents the main findings of the Teacher Status Project, a national four year study of public and individual teachers’ perceptions of the status of teachers and teaching, carried out at the Cambridge University Faculty of Education, and funded by the Department for Education and Skills. It includes the perspectives of ...