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Teachers' survey results released

28 September 2018

Eighty-three per cent of teachers in Jersey are satisfied with their roles and the majority say that “interactions and relationships with pupils” is the aspect of the role they like the most, a recent staff survey has revealed.

The Jersey Teachers’ Survey was sent to around 1,000 teachers to complete from September 2017 and had an overall response rate of 49 per cent.

Teachers from all schools were asked to answer questions in the anonymous survey. The last survey was published in 2016 and since then teachers have also taken part in the whole government, OneVoice survey, which was commissioned earlier this year.

The Teachers’ Survey, published today, was carried out by the former Education Department. Many teachers raised issues about their workload, classroom practice and student behaviour.

The issues raised by teachers include:

  • long working hours
  • pressure to achieve results
  • too much paperwork
  • too much marking
  • an extremely short time to complete the curriculum

The level of verbal abuse from pupils has increased by ten per cent since the last survey, and 40 per cent said administrative work such as photocopying, paperwork and filling out risk assessment emails were taking up too much time.

Action has already been taken to address workload issues with a new guidance document issued to all schools.

The new “Marking and Planning, Guidance for Jersey Teachers 2018”, was developed by officials from the Department of Children, Young People, Education and Skills, the National Education Union, National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers and the Jersey Association of Head Teachers.

Seán O’Regan, Group Director of Education at Children, Young People, Education and Skills, which has published the new document said: “We would like to thank the teachers who took the time to answer this survey. We are pleased to see a large proportion of teachers are satisfied with their role but there are a number of concerns expressed, which we have already started to address.

“We know that inconsistencies in approach to marking, planning and some other tasks are having an impact on teachers’ work-life balance. So in the interests of our students and our staff, we are determined that this new guidance on Marking and Planning leads to change.

“We have worked with teachers and unions to look at ways to alleviate workload pressures. To ensure working conditions are the best possible, we have collaborated with the teaching unions in Jersey to identify the specific pressures facing teachers.”

Education Minister, Senator Tracey Vallois, added: “The Teachers’ Survey highlights a number of areas of concern where improvements should be made. Mental health and wellbeing is high on our agenda and a large number of our teachers want social and emotional wellbeing in the workplace addressed. We will work with them to improve teacher wellbeing.

“I welcome this new Marking and Planning guidance document and wish to thank all the teachers who took part in this survey and who gave an honest account of the challenges they face. It helps us to understand how the teaching profession is feeling about working in Jersey at this time.”

Some of the headline figures in the Teachers’ Survey:

  • four-fifths of teachers reported feeling valued and respected as a professional by their colleagues. However lower proportions felt valued and respected by the wider community. 
  • stress, quality of sleep and fatigue were all indicated by teachers as affecting their ability to perform daily work task 
  • the majority say “interactions and relationships with pupils” are the aspect of the role they like the most
  • 88% of teachers identified a pupil’s home life/parental guidance as a main cause of poor behaviour in their school
  • half of teachers said “failing to bring the appropriate equipment to school” occurred daily or almost daily, while one in three teachers experienced “failure to comply with uniform policy” daily or almost daily
  • 83 per cent of teachers in Jersey are satisfied with their roles
  • 2 in 5 teachers reported being verbally abused by a pupil in the past year
  • two-thirds of teachers would recommend their school as a good place to work, while three-quarters would recommend their school to their friends as a place to send their children
  • long working hours concerned more than two-thirds of teachers
  • 9 out of 10 teachers report feeling confident and fully understanding their duties in implementing safeguarding policies
  • a greater proportion of teachers working in States non-fee paying schools were concerned about the pressure to achieve results
  • two-thirds of teachers reported that good teaching practice was celebrated in their school
  • the number of teachers describing their general health as “very good” was 10 per cent less than in the 2015-2016 survey
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