Twitter in the time of coronavirus

Figure 1: Number of daily tweets from the UK mentioning schools
Sources: Twitter; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 2: Common terms in UK tweets about schools
Sources: Twitter; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 3: Topics mentioned in UK tweets about schools
Sources: Twitter; SchoolDash analysis.
  1. Actually a subset of a subset. We used the Twitter API, which provides a sample of relevant tweets, and also limit ourselves to tweets that can be geolocated within or close to England.
  2. We used a list of just over 100 terms that have been prevalent in recent tweets and seemed to be reasonably reliably associated with particular coronavirus-related topics. However, some terms are potentially ambiguous. For example, 'distance' can refer to social distancing as well as distance learning; 'homework' might concern home schooling, but can also refer to the more routine kind set by schools during normal times. Note also that whilst these different topics are shown stacked on top of each other, they are not strictly additive because individual tweets can potentially mention more than one of them.

Developments in staff development

  • Overall spending on staff development increased in 2018 compared to the previous year, though in nominal terms it barely moved above the level reached during the last peak in 2016, indicating a real-terms drop since then.
  • Secondary schools spent an average of just over £520 per teacher in 2018, a substantial increase on previous years, though this still only accounts for 0.54% of total spending. 65% of secondary-school teachers (about 132,000 full-time equivalents) worked at schools that spent less than £500 per teacher in 2018.
  • Primary schools spent an average of nearly £710 per teacher, or 0.66% of their total spending. This was down from a high of 0.75% in 2016. 41% of all primary teachers (about 90,300 full-time equivalents) worked in schools that spent less than £500 per teacher in 2018.
  • There is considerable regional variation. In general, London, the South East and the East of England showed the highest levels of staff development spend in 2018. The highest-spending region among primary schools (the South East) spent 21% more per teacher than the lowest-spending region (the South West). Among secondary schools, London spent 26% more per teacher than the East and West Midlands.
  • School trusts – especially large multi-academy trusts (MATs) – spent more per teacher than local authority-maintained schools. Among primary schools, large MATs spent 37% more than LA-maintained schools; among secondary schools the difference was 74%.

Figure 1: Annual staff development spend by school type
Notes: Includes only state-funded schools in England. 'Primary' and 'secondary' categories include only mainstream schools. The relatively small number of all-through schools are classified as 'secondary'. 'Special and AP' contains special schools and alternative-provision institutions.
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 2: Proportions of schools showing increased/decreased staff development spending compared to the year before
Notes: For definitions and analysis details, see notes to Figure 1.
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 3: Distribution of staff development spend as a proportion of total school spend
Notes: For definitions and analysis details, see notes to Figure 1.
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Map 1: Average staff development spend by region (£ per teacher, 2018)
Notes: For definitions and analysis details, see notes to Figure 1.
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 4: Staff development spend per teacher (2018)
Notes: For definitions and analysis details, see notes to Figure 1.
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash Insights; SchoolDash analysis.
  1. The use of per-teacher values should not be taken to imply that all staff development spend is necessarily devoted to teachers alone, though presumbly the vast majority of it is. Note also that per-teacher and per-pupil figures use full-time equivalents (FTEs), not headcounts.

Teacher recruitment: A mid-term report

Figure 1: Year-on-year changes in number of teacher recruitment advertisments per week by subject area
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; SchoolDash analysis.
 

Outliers: On geographically isolated schools

  • Among primary schools, geographical isolation has relatively little impact on school effectiveness; poverty is a much bigger driver.
  • For secondary schools, however, poverty and isolation seem to act in concert. Among the relatively small number of secondary schools with high levels of both, two-thirds are rated 'Requires Improvement' or 'Inadequate'.
  • The areas in which these schools are located also showed high levels of support for Brexit and large swings towards the Conservatives in the 2019 general election, suggesting that their improvement may be a matter not only of education policy but also national politics.

Figure 1: Ofsted rating of schools by deprivation level and geographical isolation
Sources: Department for Education; Ofsted; Department for Transport; SchoolDash analysis.
Map 1: Locations of schools by phase, deprivation level and geographical isolation
 
Sources: Department for Education; Department for Transport; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 2: Local deprivation indices by school deprivation level and geographical isolation
Sources: Department for Education; Department for Transport; Department of Housing Communities and Local Government; SchoolDash analysis.
Map 2: Schools colour-coded by travel time
 
Colour coding: Green: travel time of of <=20 minutes; Red: travel time of >20 minutes.
Sources: Department for Education; Department for Transport; SchoolDash analysis.
Map 3: Schools colour-coded by Ofsted rating
 
Colour coding: Green: 'Outstanding' or 'Good'; Red: 'Requires Improvement' or 'Inadequate'.
Sources: Department for Education; Ofsted; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 3: Election results by school deprivation level and geographical isolation
Sources: Department for Education; Department for Transport; Electoral Commission; BBC News; SchoolDash analysis.
  1. Journey-time statistics for the lower super output area (LSOA) of each school come from the Department for Transport. In this context, 'major employment hub' refers to an employment centre with at least 5,000 jobs. Travel times of exactly 10, 20 or 30 minutes are included in the lower relevant category; for example, schools with a travel time of 20 minutes are included in the '10-20 minutes' category. Times quoted are for travel by foot and public transport. Travel times by car, while generally shorter, show similar overall patterns.
  2. This analysis includes only mainstream state schools in England. The small number of all-through schools have been categorised under 'secondary'.
  3. School deprivation categories are based on the proportions of pupils eligible for free school meals and use the following DfE bands: schools below 20% are 'low', those above 35% are 'high', and 'medium' schools are those with proportions in between.
  4. Data come from the UK government's 'English indices of deprivation 2019'. Values for each school are calculated by determining the mean for all postcodes within a radius of 2km (primary schools) or 4km (secondary schools).
  5. The EU referendum results were reported by local authority area, the general election results by Westminster parliamentary constituency. The numbers presented here are weighted averages that reflect the numbers of relevant schools in each electoral area.

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