How are pupils coping during lockdown?

  • Feelings of loneliness are widespread, especially among older pupils. Up to Year 8, around a third of respondents report feeling lonely "a bit" or "very often", but for Years 12 and 13 this proportion was more than half, with 20-25% saying that they "very often" feel lonely. Based on these responses, we estimate that 800,000-900,000 pupils at state schools in England may be feeling lonely "very often".
  • Secondary pupils are much more likely to say that their school has not provided sufficient wellbeing and mental-health support, with around 20% of respondents in Years 9-12 saying "not really" or "not at all". This compares to around 30% who say that they get plenty of support.
  • About 70% of all year groups report feeling bored "a bit" or "very often". Among secondary school pupils, over 30% report feeling bored "very often".
  • Daily exercise and healthy eating also decline with age. Among pupils in Years 10-12, 40% or more reported taking less than 30 minutes exercise a day.
  • Overall life satisfaction appears to have declined compared to surveys conducted before the lockdown, especially among boys.
  • For secondary pupils, overall life satisfaction correlates most strongly with (absence of) loneliness. Among primary pupils, feeling comfortable at home was the most significant factor.

Figure 1: Response rates by pupil type
Sources: EduKit Homeschool Survey conducted April-May 2020.
Sample size: 8,738 responses.
Figure 2: Average life satisfaction score (0-10) by year group and gender
Sources: EduKit Homeschool Survey conducted April-May 2020; SchoolDash analysis
Sample size: 8,738 responses.
Figure 3: Responses to questions by year group
Sources: EduKit Homeschool Survey conducted April-May 2020; SchoolDash analysis
Sample size: 8,738 responses.
Figure 4: Correlation of responses to questions with overall life satisfaction
Sources: EduKit Homeschool Survey conducted April-May 2020; SchoolDash analysis
Sample size: 8,738 responses.
  1. Commonly known as a Cantril ladder or Cantril scale.

Hiring goes lower: An update on teacher recruitment

  • Following a rapid year-on-year decline during the second half of March, teacher recruitment among secondary schools in England remained unseasonably low throughout April. During the 7-week period from from Monday 16th March to Friday 1st May, about 3,000 fewer teacher advertisements were found on school websites than during the corresponding period in 2019, a fall of 38%.
  • Surveys of teachers and school leaders indicate that this decline is due to a combination of (a) lower teacher turnover and (b) practical difficulties faced by schools trying to recruit during the lockdown. Both causes have potential implications for school staffing when the new academic year begins in September.
  • This study is a collaboration between SchoolDash, Teacher Tapp and the Gatsby Foundation. It follows a previous joint white paper and accompanying blog post.
Figure 1: Year-on-year change in number of secondary-school teacher recruitment advertisements in England
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 2: Numbers of schools by quantity of advertisements published
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 3: Teachers' short-term career plans (March and April 2020)
Sources: Teacher Tapp surveys of teachers conducted 30th March and 23rd April 2020.
Sample sizes: 6,874 respondents (March) and 6,937 respondents (April).
Figure 4: School leaders' assessment of recruiting situation (April 2020)
Sources: Teacher Tapp survey of school leaders 23rd April 2020.
Sample sizes: 1,798 respondents.
  1. Results also include sixth-form colleges and further-education (FE) colleges.
  2. A simple optimisation algorithm fitted the results better by assuming fewer ads per school than fewer schools, but neither on their own explained the data particularly well.
  3. The question read: "Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed your short-term career plans?" The (mutually exclusive) options were: "No - I was not planning to leave my current position this year"; "No - I have always planned to leave my current position this year (or at least seek a job elsewhere)"; "Yes - I was planning to move jobs this year, but have now decided not to"; "Yes - I was planning to move jobs this year, but now I am undecided"; "Yes - I was not planning to move jobs, but now I may (or I will)"; and "Not relevant / cannot answer".
  4. The question read: "Which of the following statements most closely reflects your school's current teacher recruitment activities?" The (mutually exclusive) options were: "We have no teacher vacancies and so are not planning to recruit immediately"; "Our teacher recruitment activities have continued without significant disruption throughout this period"; "Our teacher recruitment was TEMPORARILY slowed or disrupted by school closures, but we are now recruiting as normal"; "Our teacher recruitment activities are STILL being affected by school closures"; and "Not relevant / cannot answer".

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