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Research round-up 27 October 2017

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Here's a round-up of education research published in the last fortnight.  

Academies’ approaches to teachers’ pay: A report for the Office of Manpower Economics from Incomes Data Research

This report has been written by Incomes Data Research on behalf of the Office of Manpower Economics and looks at the extent to which the terms and conditions of academies’ teaching staff differ from their counterparts in local authority schools, and the application of the STPCD to academies’ pay policies. 

In November 2016, some 44 per cent of teachers worked in academies, which by July 2017 comprised 24 per cent of primary schools and 63 per cent of secondary schools. Unlike local authority schools, where pay is determined by the statutory guidance contained in the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD), academies are free to set their own terms and conditions.

Key findings 

  • All seven case studies have pay structures modelled on the STPCD, with three of the seven attaching salaries higher than STPCD rates to the structures
    • One pays £2,000 more in Inner London and £1,500 more in Outer London than the STPCD rates for teachers on Inner and Outer London pay bands
    • In return, teachers may be asked to work five additional days per year, for training or special projects. This rarely happens in practice
    • One pays 2.5 per cent more in return for a 40-hour week compared with the standard of 32.5 hours
    • One pays amounts ranging from one per cent to seven per cent higher on different spine points
  • Interviewees said the STPCD was vital to their current pay arrangements. If they pay less they will be unable to recruit, and four paying STPCD rates said they cannot afford to pay more
  • Other reasons for continuing to use the STPCD include the reassurance for teachers of sticking to known and understood arrangements and the fear of potential problems with fairness, transparency and equal pay if not using it
  • All the case study academies have implemented the STPCD general increase in the last three years
  • Academies, which could supply the data, said their overall pay bill increase in 2016/17 had been 2-2.5 per cent
  • Newly qualified teachers (NQTs) are sometimes recruited several points higher up the main scale than the minimum, especially in London
  • Experienced teachers are appointed several points higher on their scale than their preceding post, as a recruitment incentive
  • Four of the seven organisations pay one-off bonuses for recruitment, ranging from £1,500 to £5,000 or additions to salary of £2,500
  • Financial recruitment and retention initiatives include one-off payments ranging from £1,500 to £5,000, additions to salary of £2,500, flexibility on the spine point to which teachers are recruited and awarding teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) payments
  • The proportion of unqualified teachers in the case study academies ranged from two per cent to 15 per cent while the proportion on the main scale ranged from 21 per cent to 65 per cent. Teachers on the upper scale ranged from 68 per cent to 12 per cent of the teacher workforce.

About the data

In June and early July 2017, some 577 academies were approached by email and telephone. Incomes Data Research (IDR) was able to engage with HR or school business managers in 59 of the 577 academies, but was unable to get any response from the other 518. Of the 59, seven agreed to take part in the research. The seven are three large, one medium-sized and one small multi-academy trust and two stand-alone academies. Case study visits involved the use of semi-structured interviews, which were taped. The seven organisations taking part represent 134 academies employing more than 6,000 teachers. These numbers are small and may not be representative of the sector as a whole, though the near unanimity of the views of organisations of varying sizes is striking.

Academy Schools Sector in England Consolidated annual report and accounts

The DfE, for the first time, has prepared a separate standalone Annual Report & Accounts (ARA) for the academy sector for the academic year 2015/16 – the academies Sector Annual Report and Accounts (SARA).

Every academy is required to be part of an academy trust (AT), which is a charity and company limited by guarantee. Every AT enters into a funding agreement (FA) with the Secretary of State for Education that sets out the requirements for individual academies and the conditions under which grants are paid.

Key findings

  • As at 31 July 2016 there were 5,773 open academies, free schools, UTCs and studio schools in England
  • The sector reported an operating surplus of £534 million for the year ended 31 August 2016. This represents an average operating surplus of approximately £90,000 for each individual academy school
  • At 31 August 2016, 2,819 trusts had cumulative surpluses, with a total cumulative surplus of £2,287 million
  • 165 ATs had a cumulative deficit, with a total deficit figure of £50 million
  • Revenue grants formed 83 per cent of total income (£17.1 billion of a total £20.5 billion) with capital grants making up a further nine per cent of income (£1.9 billion)
  • Income from the DfE and its component bodies made up 88 per cent of total income received by the sector (£18.0 billion), with four per cent (£0.9 billion) received from local government. An additional six per cent (£1.3 billion) was received from other sources, including income from catering, rental and other fund generating activities
  • Staff costs comprised 71 per cent (£14.2 billion) of total staff and operating expenditure for the sector. A further 17 per cent (£3.5 billion) was spent on other operating costs, including educational supplies and IT and telecommunications
  • The sector’s assets at 31 August 2016 totalled £52.7 billion. Of these, land and buildings formed 86 per cent (£45.4 billion), with assets under construction and other fixed assets being a further three per cent (£1.7 billion) and two per cent (£1.2 billion) respectively.
Evaluation of Teachers’ Pay Reform Final Report October 2017

The DfE has released a report looking into teachers’ pay which is a study that sets out to identify what reforms schools were making, what influenced their decisions, and the perceived implications for staff and schools. The report has been put together by National Foundation for Educational Research, Institute for Fiscal Studies, University of Bristol and University of Texas at Austin.

Key findings 

  • Adoption of pay reforms
    • The surveys with head teachers undertaken in spring 2015 revealed almost all (99 per cent) of LA maintained primary and secondary schools and a majority (62 per cent) of academies had implemented pay reforms
    • The most common reforms to school leaders’ pay were to base pay on school size, context and/or challenge; and that the changes would apply to future leadership appointments
    • Most head teachers (84 per cent) reported their policies were similar to, or the same as, other schools in their local area
  • Implementation of pay reforms
    • The research literature suggests a combination of objective measures (such as test scores) and subjective measures (such as classroom observations) can be informative in identifying teachers' effectiveness
    • The surveys with head teachers undertaken in spring 2015 as part of this research revealed the most common types of evidence used by schools to assess teachers' effectiveness were pupil progress, classroom observation, teacher standards, measures linked to the school improvement plan and pupil attainment
    • By contrast, fewer schools reported using the following three types of evidence to help assess teacher effectiveness: feedback from parents/carers; feedback from colleagues; or teachers’ additional responsibilities
  • Teachers’ views of pay reforms
    • The teachers' survey, conducted in spring 2015 as part of this study, provides further insights. It found that two-thirds (66 per cent) of teachers felt they understood their schools' pay policy and about half (52 per cent) felt they had received adequate training on the policy. However, less than a quarter (23 per cent) felt they had had a meaningful opportunity to contribute to their schools' pay policy before it was introduced
    • A majority of teachers (66 per cent) thought their schools' current pay policy had added to their workload and 58 per cent thought it had made no difference to the way they worked
  • Impact on recruitment and retention
    • At the time of the survey (spring 2015), a minority of head teachers (seven per cent) said the pay reforms had had an impact on teacher recruitment.

About the research 

  • The study comprised five strands of activity:
    • A literature review
    • A head teachers' survey
    • A teachers' survey
    • Case studies in eight schools
    • Analysis of administrative data from the School Workforce Census (SWC)
Local area SEND inspections: one year on

The former Minister of State for Children and Families commissioned Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to work together to develop and deliver a programme of 152 local area inspections over approximately a five-year period. Together, the two inspectorates designed a new framework to inspect the effectiveness of local areas in fulfilling their new duties in the ‘Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years’. The first local area inspections took place in May 2016.

Key findings

  • Children and young people identified as needing SEND support had not benefited from the implementation of the Code of Practice well enough
  • Children and young people who have SEND were found to be excluded, absent or missing from school much more frequently than other pupils nationally
  • School leaders had used unofficial exclusions too readily to cope with children and young people who have SEND
  • Access to therapy services was a weakness in half of the local areas inspected
  • Access to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) was poor in more than a third of local areas
  • There had not been enough progress in implementing a coordinated 0– 25 service for children and young people who have SEND
  • Children’s and young people’s SEND were identified well in the early years, particularly for those with complex needs. Parents generally felt supported and involved in the process
  • In more than a third of the local areas inspected, leaders across education, health and care did not involve children and young people or their parents sufficiently in planning and reviewing their provision (a process known as co-production)
  • In the most effective local areas, strong strategic leadership had led to established joint working between education, health and care services. This underpinned their success when implementing the reforms of the Code of Practice
  • The proportions of young people who have SEND who are not in education, employment and training were low, particularly for those who had an EHC plan.

About the research

The Code of Practice applies to England. It provides statutory guidance on duties, policies and procedures relating to Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and associated regulations. The duties came into force in September 2014. The Code places responsibility on the local area to identify and meet the needs of children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) aged 0 to 25. The local area includes the local authority, health commissioners and providers. These inspections are conducted under section 20 of the Children’s Act 2004. 

Other research