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The Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) is run by the OECD and provides information on the views and practices of key stage three teachers and their headteachers, and how these vary across countries. The survey included over 30 countries or parts of countries. The first TALIS survey ran in 2008, and 25 June 2014 saw the release of the findings of the second survey from 2013. The OECD has released an international report on the survey, and the Department for Education commissioned the Institute of Education and RM Education to produce a national report for England.
NGA welcomes the findings from the TALIS national report. In particular, it is encouraging that 94% of headteachers are satisfied with their job, especially when taking into account the potential shortage of new headteachers in the near future. However, when asked to name barriers which limit their own effectiveness, 79% of headteachers cited government regulation and policy, 78% said inadequate budget and resources, and 68% said high workload and level of responsibility. This is very concerning, as these factors are potentially putting off teachers from taking on the role of headteacher - in particular, the proportion of headteachers who think government regulation and policy is a barrier is significantly higher than the average for all TALIS countries (69%). We urge the government to investigate how these barriers could be removed.
Almost half of headteachers also reported experiencing problems with recruiting appropriately trained and experienced teachers, and only a third of practising teachers think that their profession is highly valued by society. Although 82% of teachers in England are satisfied with their job, this figure is lower than in any other country in TALIS. We urge the government to seriously consider how recruitment at all levels could be improved, and in particular consider how it could raise the status of the teaching profession.
We are pleased that 92% of teachers engage in continued professional development (CPD). However, the average duration of this CPD is relatively low compared to other countries, so although most teachers access CPD, the time spent actually doing it is short. In addition, fewer teachers in England are taking part in research and further qualifications than other countries. The effectiveness of the training received by teachers in England in most topic areas is lower than in other countries – for example, 50% of teachers in England report ‘effective’ training over the previous year in their subject fields compared to an average of 71% for high performing countries. Quality of teaching has a massive impact on pupil performance, and we strongly encourage governing bodies to consider investing in effective and extensive CPD for staff.
The TALIS survey found that in England almost all (99%) of teachers reported getting feedback from either other staff at their school or external sources, which is higher than the average of 88% across all TALIS countries. Two thirds (66%) of teachers agreed that appraisal and feedback leads to a training or development plan, 73% said a mentor is appointed to help improve teaching and 83% said that measures to remedy any weaknesses in teaching are discussed with the teacher (compared to 59%, 48% and 74% across all TALIS countries). However, about half of teachers in England believe that appraisal and feedback are largely done to fulfil administrative requirements. This is in line with the TALIS average, and although England seems to compare favourably with other countries regarding appraisal and feedback, it is clear there is still room for improvement. When used well, appraisal can be a powerful tool for improving quality of teaching, and it is vital that line managers have the expertise to carry it out effectively. Governing boards should ensure that all those undertaking appraisals have had appropriate training. For guidance on this, see our briefing Knowing your School: Governors and staff performance.