School science technician recruiting under lockdown

  • Recruitment activity in 2019-2020 was very similar to previous years until mid-March 2020, when it slowed abruptly. By mid-July, the cumulative deficit across the whole academic year compared to 12 months earlier was 400 advertisements.
  • During the lockdown period from mid-March to mid-July alone, there were 350 fewer advertisements (-55% compared to the same period a year earlier).
  • This decline was broadly based: every region and almost all school types showed year-on-year declines. However, reductions in activity tended to be greater among large schools and those with high proportions of disadvantaged pupils.
  • There were similar trends across other technician disciplines, but science, as the biggest category, showed by far the largest decline in absolute terms.

Figure 1: Technician recruitment among schools in England
Notes: Dates on the horizontal axis are for the 2019-2020 academic year. Values for 2018-2019 are those corresponding to periods exactly 52 weeks earlier; those for 2017-2018 are exactly 104 weeks earlier. This aligns days of the week at the expense of a slight mismatch in dates.
'Science' consists of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, or some combination of these. 'Other' subjects consist mainly of Reprographics, Physical Education and Media Studies.
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 2: Year-on-year change in technician recruitment among schools in England (2019-2020)
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 3: Year-on-year change in technician recruitment by subject (2019-2020)
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 4: Year-on-year change in technician recruitment by school type
Notes: School deprivation figures based on pupils' eligibility for free school meals, with bands defined by the DfE: low means less than 20%, high means more than 35%. Local deprivation figures based on the mean IDACI of postcodes within a 4km radius of each school, with schools then divided into three roughly equally sized groups. Small schools have fewer than 700 pupils, large ones have more than 1,200. A small proportion of low attainers means less than 12% and a high proportion means more than 18%. Urban, suburban and rural groups use ONS rural-urban categories applied to school postcodes.
Sources: Secondary school, sixth-form college and FE college websites; Department for Education; Office for National Statistics; Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government; SchoolDash analysis.
  1. This process does not capture all vacant positions because: (a) not all positions are advertised on school websites, (b) even when they are, they are not necessarily presented in a way that can be automatically indexed, and (c) websites are sometimes unresponsive or otherwise unavailable. For this reason, the data presented should be thought of as being based not on a comprehensive list of all vacancies but on a subset. However, positions have been detected for well over 90% of schools and these are broadly representative of the overall population of schools.
  2. In fact, the cutoff date – Friday 13th March 2020 – slightly precedes school lockdowns, which were announced on Wednesday 18th March and took effect from Monday 23rd March. This is because the data suggest that schools changed their behaviour slightly early, in anticipation of the lockdown, with the decline in recruiting activity beginning on Friday 13th March.

 

Who stands to lose from GCSE grade assignments?

  • Large year-on-year increases in school performance are relatively rare but consistently occur in a small proportion of schools. In 2019, 15 schools representing nearly 1,600 Year 11 students showed year-on-year improvements of 0.8 of a grade or more in their Progress 8 scores. A total of 45 schools representing just under 5,400 Year 11 pupils showed improvements of at least 0.6 of a grade.
  • Most improvements of this kind do not appear to be mere statistical fluctuations. Of the 11 schools that showed improvements of at least 0.8 in 2018, all of them (100%) sustained most or all of these increases into 2019. Of the 51 that showed improvements of at least 0.6 in 2018, 40 (78%) sustained these into 2019.
  • Rapidly improving schools come in a variety of types, but they are disproportionately likely to have low prior Progress 8 scores, low Ofsted ratings and to have undergone recent changes in leadership.

Figure 1: Improvement in Progress 8 score (2017-2018 and 2018-2019)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 2: Improvement in Progress 8 score by subject (2017-2018 and 2018-2019)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 3: Maths and English elements for schools improving Progress 8 (2017-2018)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 4: Decline in Progress 8 score by subject (2017-2018 and 2018-2019)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
  • Most obviously, they tend to start with low Progress 8 scores. The pre-improvement average for the 11 schools that showed increases of at least 0.8 in 2018 was -0.90. For the 51 schools that showed improvements of at least 0.6, it was -0.62. The same is not true of schools showing rapid decline, which tend to have initial Progress 8 scores much closer to the national average or even slightly higher.
  • They often have low Ofsted ratings. Of the 11 schools showing Progress 8 increases of at least 0.8 in 2018, 70% were rated 'Requires Improvement' or lower and none were rated 'Outstanding'. (The corresponding proportions for all schools were 24% and 20%, respectively.) This trend gets weaker when we include schools with smaller year-on-year changes, but even among those showing Progress 8 increases of 0.6 or more, 48% were rated 'Requires Improvement' or below – double the proportion among all schools. This trend does not apply to schools showing rapid decline, which have distributions of Ofsted ratings very similar to those for all schools.
  • They are more likely to have had recent changes in leadership. Among schools showing Progress 8 increases of at least 0.8 in 2018, 82% have recorded a change in headteacher1 since 2017 compared to 45% for all schools. The proportion for schools showing improvements of 0.6 or more is 65%. In this case, a similar pattern is evident among schools showing large declines in Progress 8 score.

  1. This refers to the headteacher named in the DfE's public records for the school. It can change for a variety of reasons, including alterations to management structure, such as the appointment of an executive headteacher, as well as straightforward replacements of one head with another.

 

 | Copyright © 2020 |