SchoolDash Stories

 

SchoolDash Insights

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Here's where we share data-driven stories mined from the millions of facts held in SchoolDash Insights. Follow us @SchoolDash or on #SchoolDashStories. To make your own discoveries, click on one of the buttons below:

 

New heads

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September is the month when headteachers traditionally engage in their annual game of musical chairs. Contrary to the situation among teachers, were turnover dropped dramatically over the spring and summer, new headteacher appointments are currently every bit as high as in recent years.

Indeed, it seems quite possible that the turnover and retirements among heads could increase this year given the extra stresses of dealing with lockdown, exam grade assignments and socially distanced school re-openings. We are monitoring this closely in the Headteachers section of SchoolDash Insights, which shows new headteacher appointments among state schools in England:

New headteacher appointments

 

Members can find out more about this and other trends in the SchoolDash Insights Headteachers section. Non-members can sign up for a free trial or write to us to find out more: [email protected].


Pupil Premium income

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Among primary schools, Pupil Premium income varies more than fivefold between the lowest and highest local authority areas, reaching over £500 per pupil per year in some. The areas receiving most are concentrated in the North East, North West, West Midlands and – especially – central London:

Average class for primary schools

 

Among secondary schools, the difference between different local authority areas is closer to tenfold:

Occupancy rates for secondary schools

 

Members can find out more about these and other indicators in the SchoolDash Insights Finances section. Non-members can sign up for a free trial or write to us to find out more: [email protected].


Parental contributions

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Schools are back – and so are SchoolDash Stories! Today we look at parental contributions, which vary greatly across the country. Among primary schools, the South West shows the highest levels (about £53 per pupil per year over the last 8 years), more than twice as high as those in the North East (just over £22 per pupil per year over the same period):

Parental contributions among primary schools

 

Secondary schools show similar trends, though in this case the difference between the highest-spending region (the South West again, at £74 per pupil per year) and the lowest-spending one (Yorkshire and The Humber, at £19 per pupil per year) is almost fourfold:

Parental contributions among secondary schools

 

Members can find out more about these and other indicators in the SchoolDash Insights Finances section. Non-members can sign up for a free trial or write to us to find out more: [email protected].


Teachers over 50

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One source of concern for English schools as they prepare to reopen in September is the potential risk to teachers, especially those aged over 50, who appear to be more susceptible to coronavirus. The distribution of these teachers is very uneven. Viewed by parliamentary constituency, the proportion of primary school teachers aged over 50 ranges from under 10% (especially in urban areas) to well over 25% (mostly in rural areas):

Teachers over 50 among primary schools

 

Secondary schools display a similar pattern, but with an even wider range (less than 5% to over 30%):

Teachers over 50 among secondary schools

 

Members can find out more about these and other indicators in the SchoolDash Insights Staff section. Non-members can sign up for a free trial or write to us to find out more: [email protected].


Class sizes and social distancing

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Last week we pointed out that school occupancy rates vary widely across the country – and that during this period of social distancing, less-full schools might have a slightly easier time of it for a change. Another relevant indictor is class size, which also differs by location. Among primary schools, classes tend to be larger in the South East, as well as in certain urban areas in the Midlands and North West:

Average class for primary schools

 

Among secondary schools, average class sizes are smaller and the geographical trends less obvious (though note that the Isles of Scilly are an outlier, with only around 16 pupils per class):

Occupancy rates for secondary schools

 

Members can find out more about these and other indicators in the SchoolDash Insights Pupils section. Non-members can sign up for a free trial or write to us to find out more: [email protected].


How full are schools (when they're open)?

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A full school is normally a good thing, but perhaps not when you're in the midst of a pandemic and have to keep pupils apart. School occupancy rates vary widely across the country. Among primary schools, they tend to be higher in urban areas and in the north, where they often exceed 100%:

Occupancy rates for primary schools

 

Among secondary schools, occupancy rates tend to be higher in the south of England. Particularly in the north, it is not uncommon for 20% or more of places to be vacant:

Occupancy rates for secondary schools

 

Members can find out more about these and other indicators in the SchoolDash Insights Pupils section. Non-members can sign up for a free trial or write to us to find out more: [email protected].


Disadvantaged primary-school children

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There is much (justified) concern about disadvantaged children falling further behind as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. If so, this will reverse recent progress. Since 2016, the proportion of disadvantaged pupils achieving expected standards at age 11 has increased from 40% to over 50%:

Annual expenditure on school maintenance (£m)

 

The proportion of disadvantaged pupils who achieve high standards at age 11, while still low, has more than doubled over the same period:

Annual expenditure on school maintenance (£ per pupil)

 

Members can find out more in the SchoolDash Insights Exams section. Non-members can sign up for a free trial or write to us to find out more: [email protected].


Rebuilding schools

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The government recently announced its intention to spend an extra £1bn fixing dilapidated school buildings in England. State schools (primary, secondary and special) collectively spend about £1bn a year maintaining their buildings, though over the last few years this figure has fallen in nominal terms, let alone real terms:

Annual expenditure on school maintenance (£m)

 

In 2019, this amounted to about £112 a year per pupil, down from £120 in 2012:

Annual expenditure on school maintenance (£ per pupil)

 

Members can find out more in the SchoolDash Insights Finances section. Non-members can sign up for a free trial or write to us to find out more: [email protected].


Qualified teachers are not evenly distributed

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Our recent joint report with Teacher Tapp and the Gatsby Foundation points, among other things, to concerns about placing newly qualified teachers (NQTs) following a highly disrupted teacher recruiting season.

Here, we look at the current distribution of qualified teachers by English region. Among primary schools, the proportions of qualified teachers are generally higher in the west of the country than in the east:

Proportions of pupils eligible for the Pupil Premium

 

And the same is true in secondary schools:

Proportions of pupils reaching the expected standard by Year 6

 

We've no idea why this should be, but if you know then do tell by writing to [email protected]

Members can find out more about these and other indicators in the SchoolDash Insights Staff section. Non-members can sign up for a free trial or write to us to find out more: [email protected].


Surprising regional disparities in primary school attainment

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It's well known that the English regions with the highest proportions of poor children are the North East and London:

Proportions of pupils eligible for the Pupil Premium

 

Less widely appreciated is the fact that these two regions also show the highest attainment among state primary schools:

Proportions of pupils reaching the expected standard by Year 6

 

This is true for most primary subjects. Only in reading does the south convincingly outperform the north:

Average reading score in Year 6

 

Members can find out more in the SchoolDash Insights Pupils and Exams sections. Non-members can sign up for a free trial or write to us to find out more: [email protected].


Ethnicity and schools

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Amid the ongoing debates about racial equality, here are some charts that illustrate the changing ethnic and cultural nature of school populations in England. The proportions of pupils for whom English is not their first language continue to grow among both primary and secondary schools. They now account for around one in six pupils (though very unevenly distributed across England):

Proportions of pupils for whom English is not their first language

 

At the same time, the proportions of pupils identifying as white British are in decline, with around a third associating with other ethnic groups:

Proportions of pupils identifying as white British

 

Meanwhile, the proportions of ethnic-minority teachers in secondary schools (but not primary schools) has been rising too. However, this still amounts to only about the half of the proportion of ethnic-minority pupils:

Proportion of ethnic-minority teachers in secondary schools

 

Members can find out more in the SchoolDash Insights Pupils and Staff sections. Non-members can sign up for a free trial or write to us to find out more: [email protected].


Spending on technology for teaching is in decline

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The amount spent on ICT learning resources by state primary and secondary schools in England has been in decline over recent years, even in nominal terms (ie, before allowing for inflation). Striking given our current reliance on online learning:

Spending on ICT learning resources

 

From 2012 to 2019, spending on ICT learning resources was greatest in London and the South East among primary schools:

Spending on ICT learning resources

 

The same is true for secondary schools too:

Spending on ICT learning resources

 

Members can find out more in the SchoolDash Insights Finances section. Non-members can sign up for a free trial or write to us to find out more: [email protected].


 

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