The most experienced teachers in England are more likely to teach in schools with wealthy students than in other developed countries, new research has found.
In an international survey of teaching and learning (Talis) published on Monday, teachers in England with more than 10 years in the classroom were found to be less likely to work in schools with a higher proportion of disadvantaged pupils.
The findings show that attracting high-quality teachers to the poorest schools should be a top priority, said James Zuccollo, director of school workforces at the Education Policy Institute (EPI).
“The quality of teaching is the most important element of children’s schooling and is essential to ensure that all children have access to great teachers,” he said.
“Today’s Talis report shows that England is below the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average when it comes to the distribution of more experienced teachers, and those who have been longer are more likely to in the profession are teaching in more prosperous schools. .
“Given that countries with a more even distribution of quality teachers tend to perform better on PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) international tests, it is imperative that the government continue to focus on policies that incentivize effective teachers. in areas with low student achievement.
“Ensuring that challenging schools have the tools to attract and retain great teachers and the resources to support them must remain a top priority.”
The report finds that experienced teachers are more likely to work in schools with more affluent students in all countries.
However, there are exceptions to the rule: more experienced teachers in Colombia, Shanghai, and Israel were actually more likely to work in schools with high levels of economically disadvantaged students.
The report also found that, across all countries, teachers in the wealthiest schools were most likely to spend more class time teaching.
“That said, it is not necessarily the case that teachers who know how to optimize actual teaching time are more spread out in favored schools,” the report said.
“It is also possible that teachers in schools whose students are mostly less well-off may not be able to maximize their teaching time because classes are frequently interrupted for disciplinary problems.”
Although the report is based on pre-pandemic data in 2018, it also notes that school closures have highlighted “the continued presence of digital divides.”
However, England was found to have a higher proportion of ICT-trained teachers working in disadvantaged schools than many other OECD countries.