Teaching in England is not ‘interesting’ enough, says Pisa boss

The Tes reports that making teaching “intellectually attractive” in England could be a bigger challenge than solving the pay problem, according to Andreas Schleicher, head of education at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Helping to make teaching more “interesting” in this country may involve teachers spending less time working directly with pupils in the classroom, said Mr Schleicher, who oversees the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

But this did not mean simply replacing teaching time with administrative tasks, he stressed. 

In other countries, teachers may spend more of their time working with colleagues, observing other teachers’ classrooms, preparing lessons and working with parents, he told a press conference in London.

“The profile of activity is more similar to other professional workers. The idea that you spend all your time teaching is still an industrial model – someone tells you what to do and you just go and do it. The Japanese or Finnish model is more professional. Don’t think this is about bureaucracy or administration. It is about advancing professionalism.”

“The UK clearly has a challenge to keep teaching financially attractive,” said Mr Schleicher. “It is different from most OECD countries where teaching is better paid than a decade ago.” But perhaps the biggest challenge, he said, is to make teaching “intellectually attractive”.

The OECD’s latest data revealed that primary teachers in England spend 942 hours a year teaching compared to an OECD average of 794 hours a year. Similarly, secondary teachers in England spend 817 hours a year teaching, compared to an OECD average of 704 hours.

In contrast, in Japan secondary teachers spend just 32 per cent of their time at work in the classroom teaching – 610 hours a year.

Read more Teaching in England is not ‘interesting’ enough, says Pisa boss

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