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Early career teachers evaluate the impact of summer schools on their teaching

Published: Jun 14, 2022 3 min read

STEM learning

During the summer of 2021, STEM Learning released a range of bursary-supported summer schools for early career teachers (ECTs) to gain skills and confidence in their new careers. This case study covered seven summer schools running between 19 July to 16 August 2021, which were for ECTs teaching primary, secondary, or A level science.

Shortly after their summer school course, teachers received evaluation surveys to capture their experiences; 103 responses were collected from the Impact Toolkit and analysed. Impact surveys were sent at different reflection points to determine the short-term and long-term impacts of the summer schools, with 56 responses collected overall (25 short-term responses, 5 long-term responses). 

Evaluation and impacts
The evaluation results showed that the summer schools were well received, as 97% of teachers rated the overall quality as good or very good (70% very good). In addition, almost all teachers believed that the summer schools would impact their future practice.

  • All respondents to the impact surveys experienced some level of overall impact, with 73% experiencing a medium or high impact and 11% experiencing a high impact. Summer schools had the greatest impact on the teachers themselves, as 96% of teachers experienced a medium/high personal impact (41% high)
  • Students were impacted to a considerable extent; 89% of teachers observed a medium/high impact on their students
  • The impact on colleagues and schools was lower, with 47% reporting medium/high impact on their colleagues and 64% finding medium/high impact on a school level

Teachers indicated specific improvements brought about by attending the summer schools:

  • Subject and pedagogical knowledge improved for 93% of teachers, while 86% increased their enthusiasm and confidence
  • 89% of teachers saw students’ motivation and engagement in lessons improve
  • Among their colleagues and school, around two-thirds of teachers saw the quality of teaching in STEM subjects increase

Early career teachers benefited greatly from attending STEM Learning’s summer schools. Teachers overwhelmingly found the summer schools to be good or very good and predicted that attendance is likely to have an impact on their future practice. The impact surveys (mostly short-term impact) found that a large majority of respondents experienced a medium or high overall impact, with the impact on the teachers themselves being particularly high. 
What the participants had to say
To add to the statistics presented earlier in the article, participants from the summer schools provided some comments on how the summer schools will impact their teaching in the future.

"I found all the sessions really useful. The lecturers really knew what they were talking about and answered every question we had really well." 

"I will tackle future projects with more confidence and faith in myself. I will also tackle them with enthusiasm as the training reignited my love of science."

"It was amazing to experience and practice the demonstrations that, as teachers, we may well have to carry out. Being in a safe space with additional help and support allowed me to feel safe in what I was doing and I feel confident to try the demos again in the future."

If you wish to join the class of 2022, then you can find a full list of our upcoming summer schools below: