Experienced teachers more likely to choose schools with wealthy pupils over deprived ones

Experienced teachers are more likely to grace the classrooms of schools with advantaged pupils, leaving more deprived schools with less qualified staff, new research has revealed.

A University of Cambridge study published today found teachers in the top fifth of advantaged schools – sorted by free school meal data – had an average of nearly one and a half years more experience than those in the least advantaged quintile.

The research will be presented at the Sutton Trust’s “Best in Class” international summit later today.

It follows a Schools Week article last year which revealed how smart new teachers were flocking to coasting schools for an easier life.

Sir Peter Lampl, chair of the Sutton Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “We know that good teaching is the most important factor in raising the achievement of all pupils but particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

“In order to improve the performance of disadvantaged pupils it is vital that theses pupils have access to the best teaching.”

Researchers analysed a sample of 2,500 teachers in England from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) teaching and learning survey.

A total of 80 per cent of teachers in the least advantaged schools said their pupils were well-behaved, compared to 96 per cent in the most advantaged.

They also reported spending less time teaching and more on classroom management.

Anna Vignoles, one of the researchers and professor of education at the University of Cambridge, said: “Teachers are the heart of an effective education system. There are real challenges around recruitment, retention and improving teachers’ satisfaction with their jobs, particularly in our most disadvantaged schools.”

The correlation between new teacher’s qualifications and the characteristics of schools they work in from research last year
The correlation between new teacher’s qualifications and the characteristics of schools they work in from research last year

Schools Week reported on research in May last year that found higher qualified teachers were most attracted to schools with high achievement (right).

Higher qualified teachers preferred to teach in schools achieving low progress with affluent pupils, than ones achieving high progress with disadvantaged pupils.

A new survey of teachers from the National Foundation for Educational Research, also published today, found the most popular way to get experienced teachers into disadvantaged schools is by offering cash incentives.

More than a third of teachers said increased pay or bonuses or free periods could encourage more teachers into challenging schools.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb and Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s director of education, are due to give keynote addresses at today’s summit.

The summit aims to consider how disadvantaged pupils should have fair access to the best schools and best teachers.

Follow updates from @SchoolsWeekLive on Twitter for updates.


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