Two-thirds of teachers feel undervalued, says OECD study

Japanese calligraphy Japanese teachers work the longest hours

Fewer than a third of teachers in developed countries feel their profession is valued, according to a major international study.

But the research from the OECD reveals a wide cultural gap - with a much more positive perception of teacher status in Asia than in Europe.

Teachers in England were above average in feeling valued, at 35%, unlike France where the figure was only 5%.

The OECD's Michael Davidson described these as "shocking statistics".

The OECD, responsible for Pisa tests comparing international education standards, has turned its attention to the state of teaching, examining the working lives of 100,000 teachers and heads in 34 education systems.

The economic think-tank argues that the quality of teaching, more than any other factor, determines the outcomes of an education system.

Undervalued

But the report - Teaching and Learning International Survey (Talis) - shows that many teachers do not feel that the importance of their role is recognised.

Classroom Teachers in Europe are particularly likely to feel undervalued

Only 31% believed that their work was valued by the rest of society. The report says that has implications for attracting young teachers into the profession.

Within this average were some very wide differences. In Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore and Abu Dhabi there was a strong sense of teaching being highly respected.

In Europe, Finland was the only country where a majority of teachers were confident in the status of their job.

The Netherlands and England were the next best valued in Europe. But there was a much gloomier outlook for teachers in France, Spain and Sweden, where more than nine out of 10 teachers felt their profession was not respected.

Despite this sense of being unappreciated, there were still high levels of job satisfaction - with a large majority saying they would choose teaching again as a career choice.

Classroom behaviour

The study provides an overview of the different working weeks.

It shows that teachers in England are working 46 hours per week in term time, considerably above the international average of 38 hours, with only Singapore, 48 hours, and Japan, 54 hours, working longer.

PROFILE OF TEACHERS

  • 68% of teachers are women
  • Average age is 43
  • Singapore has youngest teachers, Italy the oldest
  • 90% are graduates
  • Average secondary school class 24 pupils
  • Average working week 38 hours, Japan longest with 54 hours

Source: OECD/ Talis study. Based on 34 education systems

In contrast, teachers in Italy are only working 29 hours per week, with Finland's teachers working 32 hours. South Korea's teachers, with some of the best test results in the world, work 37 hours per week.

The research includes a comparison of how much time is wasted in lessons because of bad behaviour.

Poland has the best behaved pupils, according to this measure, losing 8% of lesson to poor behaviour, with Brazil's pupils the most disruptive, losing 20%.

England has less of a problem with discipline than most other countries, with teachers spending 11% of lesson time on poor behaviour.

But a more detailed analysis in England's schools shows that higher achieving state schools, rated as outstanding, have less disruption and more teaching time than weaker schools. And independent schools faced less disruption than state schools.

Lesson lost to keeping discipline Teachers feeling valued Teachers' weekly working hours

Brazil 20%

Malaysia 84%

Japan 54 hours

Singapore 18%

Singapore 67%

Singapore 48 hours

France 16%

South Korea 16%

England 46 hours

Japan 15%

Finland 59%

United States 45 hours

South Korea 14%

Netherlands 40%

Sweden 42 hours

Italy 13%

England 35%

Spain 38 hours

Finland 13%

Japan 28%

Poland 37 hours

England 11%

Denmark 18%

South Korea 37 hours

Denmark 10%

Italy 13%

France 37 hours

Norway 9%

Spain 9%

Netherlands 36 hours

Estonia 9%

Sweden 5%

Finland 32 hours

Poland 8%

France 5%

Italy 29 hours

In terms of more aggressive behaviour, in Brazil, Mexico, Australia and Sweden, there are reports of regular intimidation and verbal abuse towards teachers.

The study examines how teachers are deployed - and whether the most experienced staff are where the need is greatest.

The research reveals wide differences. In South Korea, the Netherlands and Chile, all high performing education systems in their regions, the most experienced teachers are more likely to be working in schools with the most disadvantaged pupils.

In England, the trend is in the opposite direction, with the most experienced staff less likely to be in these more challenging schools.

The study also provides a profile of the teaching profession. Most are women, with the average age 43 years old.

Apart from Singapore, England has the youngest teaching force of any of the education systems in the survey. It has fewer head teachers over the age of 60 than any other developed country.

The research found that many teachers were working in isolation - a majority did not use "team teaching" with another colleague and only a third observed other teachers' lessons. Almost half did not receive any feedback from senior staff.

The report says that job satisfaction is improved by a greater sense of participation and collaborative working.

"We need to attract the best and brightest to join the profession," said Andreas Schleicher, the OECD's education director.

A spokeswoman for England's Department for Education said: "There has never been a better time to be a teacher - and there have never been more teachers in England's classrooms, with a rise of 9,000 in the last year.

"We are incredibly fortunate to have many thousands of dedicated, hard-working teachers, committed to teaching excellence. Teaching is now one of the most attractive career paths for graduates, with a record number of top graduates now joining the profession."

Labour's shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said: "This report is more evidence that raising teacher quality improves children's learning."

He called for all teachers to be qualified and "undertake continued professional development throughout their careers".

More on This Story

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    ECUADOR'S BITCOIN 08:19:

    Ecuador says its new digital currency will begin circulating in December. The electronic money will be the first backed by a central bank, and will work alongside the country's current currency - the US dollar. The president says it will help poorer people gain access to banking.

     
  2.  
    MICROSOFT ULTIMATUM 08:06:
    Microsoft China

    The clock is ticking for Microsoft in China. Competition authorities have given the firm 20 days to reply to questions over the compatibility of some of its software, Reuters reports. Microsoft is one of several foreign companies that have come under scrutiny in the country in recent weeks.

     
  3.  
    PUTIN SEEKS PARTITION 07:51:
    Putin

    The Financial Times leads with Vladimir Putin's call for talks on "statehood" for south-east Ukraine. The paper calls it a provocative comment, which will heighten fears that Moscow is seeking partition for Ukraine. The Daily Telegraph says David Cameron and Barack Obama are to respond to the Russian president by urging NATO allies to increase defence spending. In a leader article the paper also recommends fresh sanctions.

     
  4.  
    BERKELEY PERFORMANCE 07:37:

    Berkeley Group, the home builder, is having its annual meeting today. The firm is "well positioned to continue to invest in the business and deliver returns to shareholders. Earnings this year are anticipated to be in line with current market expectations," chairman Tony Pidgley will say.

     
  5.  
    KIER CONTRACT 07:23:

    Kier Group, the builder, says it is the preferred bidder to design and build a new £50m residential tower in London. The company says it will "design and construct 224 luxury apartments arranged in four blocks".

     
  6.  
    GOING SOUTH 07:11:
    St Andrews

    The Guardian reports that Scotland's top universities are bracing themselves for a "brain drain" of their most talented scientists if there's a "yes" vote for independence. The paper says senior figures believe Scotland's best known universities would lose access to billions of pounds of funding - the subjects most at risk are said to include advanced computing and genetic research. However a source close to the Scottish government says the concerns are misplaced and research funding will be maintained.

     
  7.  
    CUBAN IMPORTS 06:57:

    New rules are coming into force in Cuba, limiting the amount of goods people can take into the country in their luggage. For example, Cubans will be allowed only 10 kilos of detergent rather than 40, 24 bras rather than 48, and just two flat screen televisions. Many Cubans see the new restrictions as throttling one of the few sources of high-quality consumer goods.

     
  8.  
    RAC LISTING 06:47: Radio 5 live
    RAC rescue vehicle

    Holly Cook, of Morningstar, was on 5 live too, talking about the car breakdown specialists RAC, who are said to be considering a stock market flotation. How come? It shows "more confidence in the market" and may be seen as a good investment as its business is easily understood, she says.

     
  9.  
    FINANCE LITERACY 06:41: Radio 5 live

    Tracey Bleakley adds that the first rule of money management is "knowing the difference between something you need and something you want." Think about that in the lunch queue.

     
  10.  
    FINANCE LITERACY 06:35: Radio 5 live
    Classroom

    Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of the Personal Finance Education Group is talking about the government's new plan to provide education on financial planning. "We've all got to talk about it," she says, adding that children could educate their parents. That way people can see through "the marketing" that lots of debt is a good idea.

     
  11.  
    TESCO PERFORMANCE 06:30: Radio 5 live

    Tesco is struggling to compete with the likes of Aldi and Lidl because the smaller supermarkets stock fewer lines and focus on keeping prices low. "Tesco are giving people far too many reasons to go elsewhere," Steve Dresser, retail analyst, tells Wake up to Money.

     
  12.  
    TESCO'S NEXT MOVE 06:27: BBC Radio 4

    Tesco's new boss, Dave Lewis, starts work today at the beleaguered supermarket chain, and Holly Cook, of the investment site Morningstar, tells Today that his first move may be to slash prices. Tesco, she says, "used to be a value proposition," but is now "not that much cheaper" than its rivals.

     
  13.  
    EU REVOLT 06:20:
    Cameron

    In its main front page story, the Independent says David Cameron is facing a damaging new revolt over Europe. It says up to 100 Conservative MPs are planning to defy him by declaring that they'll vote to leave the EU - regardless of what concessions he wins for Britain.

     
  14.  
    NETWORK RAIL 06:17: Radio 5 live

    Philip Haigh, railway writer, is still on Wake up to Money. Why is Network Rail in £33bn of debt? It's been spending lots of late, he says. Railway stations, for example, have never looked better. "You just have to look at King's Cross and see what they've done there," he says.

     
  15.  
    BORIS TAKES OFF 06:14:

    Boris's comments come as we await news on whether the Airports Commission will put his favoured plan for a Thames estuary airport back onto its shortlist of options. Incidentally, Mr Johnson is seeking nomination as the Conservative parliamentary candidate in Uxbridge and South Ruislip - where Heathrow expansion is widely opposed.

     
  16.  
    BORIS TAKES OFF 06:07:
    Plane over Heathrow

    The Telegraph carries a piece by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in which he warns that expanding Heathrow, and ditching his plan for a new airport in the Thames estuary, would be a "disaster". But Mr Johnson, who has previously called for the closure of Heathrow, now suggests it could remain open as a secondary airport.

     
  17.  
    NETWORK RAIL 06:03: Radio 5 live

    Philip Haigh, railway writer, is on Wake up to Money, talking about Network Rail's move to the government's balance sheet. On the one hand, he says, it means the state-owned company can borrow more cheaply from the government, but the government will also be able to appoint directors and intervene in things like executive pay.

     
  18.  
    06:01: Howard Mustoe Business reporter

    Morning! Get in touch via email bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or via Twitter @BBCBusiness

     
  19.  
    06:00: Joe Miller Business Reporter

    Good morning. It's a good day for current account holders - particularly those who have experienced the maddening misfortune of being charged for going overdrawn by a few pennies. Banks will now have to give customers until 2pm to cover funds before slapping on a levy. Stay tuned for reaction to that news, and the rest of the business headlines.

     

Features

  • Polish and British flags alongside British roadsideWar debt

    Does the UK still feel a sense of obligation towards Poles?


  • Alana Saarinen at pianoMum Dad and Mum

    The girl who has three biological parents


  • Isis fighters in propaganda video footageWho backs IS?

    Where Islamic State finds support to become a formidable force


  • Spanish volunteer Rafa Munoz Perez practising with a rifle in Donetsk, 7 August Motley crew

    The Europeans who pitch up in Ukraine to join the fight


From BBC Capital

Programmes

  • Volcanic eruptionThe Travel Show Watch

    Uncovering the secrets of the Icelandic island buried by a volcanic eruption

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.