The pandemic has made one thing abundantly clear — teachers need more support.
Many are “hitting the wall” after being on high alert since March 2020, Jon Severs writes in an article for Tes Magazine. Teachers have “worked their holidays, they worked their evenings, they worked their weekends. In marathon terms, they were the ones who got out in front and set the pace.”
Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, says in an article in Schools Week, that the profession is “haemorrhaging teachers,” with more than 40% leaving within 10 years of qualification. The key cause cited by those who leave is “excessive workload caused by accountability pressures.”
What’s the best way to support teachers through these difficult times? Maths — No Problem! would argue for a return of high-quality textbooks. That might seem obvious. It is, after all, our main source of revenue.
But we’re not the only ones calling for a Textbook Renaissance.
In his landmark 2014 policy paper Why Textbooks Count, Tim Oates, an authority on the school curriculum, concludes high-quality textbooks “free teachers up to concentrate on refining pedagogy and developing engaging, effective learning.”
The failure to recognise that good textbooks aren’t antithetical to high-quality pedagogy “may be impeding improvement of education in England,” he says.
A 1996 study found that the highest-performing teachers most supported using well-designed textbooks. One of the key reasons was that they free up time “to focus on learner progress rather than designing learning materials.”