Disadvantaged schools have fewer qualified teachers

By Jess Brown

| 09 March 2016

Schools with high-levels of less well-off pupils have fewer experienced teachers and the teaching is less effective, a study has found.

Disadvantaged schools have a higher proportion of new teachers, who have less time in the classroom to teach, than more advantaged schools, according to research. Picture: Becky Nixon

Teachers in the most advantaged fifth of schools, based on having a fewer number of pupils eligible for free school meals, have an extra 18 months of experience on average than the most disadvantaged schools, research commissioned by The Sutton Trust found.

Academics from the University of Cambridge surveyed 2,500 teachers in England and concluded that teachers are unfairly distributed across the system. They found that experienced teachers are more effective than those in their first few years of teaching.

They also found that teachers in the most deprived schools, which have a higher number of pupils eligible for free school meals, spend significantly less time on teaching, and more time on administration and classroom management.

Teachers in the least deprived schools were more likely to report that students were well-behaved, and they reported better relationships between students and teachers.

Only 80 per cent of teachers in the least advantaged fifth of schools said their pupils were well-behaved, compared with 96 per cent of those in the most advantaged fifth.

Just over a third of teachers said that the best way to incentivise teachers to work in more challenging schools was to offer increased pay or a bonus scheme.

Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, 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. Today’s new polling finds that teachers think financial incentives are the most effective way to attract the best teachers to teach in the most challenging schools.”
 
Anna Vignoles, professor of education at the University of Cambridge, said that 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,” she said.

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