TSL launches the TESconnect social networking website

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Launch of TESconnect highlights how the Internet will give back 14.3 million hidden hours to UK teachers by 2012

5,000 teachers say social networking will revolutionise the teaching profession

New research, released today, proves that social networking, resource sharing and collaboration has the potential to transform the productivity and working lives of the UK teaching community and fundamentally raise the quality of lessons taught in UK classrooms. The research is released by TSL Education, publishers of the TES to launch TESconnect at www.tes.co.uk, the essential new website for teachers, by teachers, a social network that allows teachers to network and share teaching and lesson planning resources. At launch, TESconnect will be the world’s largest social network for a single profession

Results from the study entitled 'The Digital Staffroom: How social networking and resource sharing are transforming teaching', involving 5,000 teachers across all aspects of the teaching profession, illustrate a picture of a profession committed to delivering the best quality teaching experience possible for their pupils and spending hidden time to do so. 73% of teachers use their evenings and weekends to plan for their lessons with many classroom teachers working a 50-hour week, 30% or more of that time is spent working out of school hours. However, the study reveals that teachers who currently use online resources as a starting point for their lesson planning are saving on average 31 minutes per unique lesson using shared resources. Based on this information, online collaboration is expected to save 14.3 million teaching hours per year by 2012, the equivalent of employing around 23,000 new teachers a year.

The survey of 5000 teachers finds that they are constantly seeking to raise educational standards and are on a permanent quest for new ideas, but they are often isolated by the solitary, classroom-centric nature of teaching itself. Internet technology has the power to fundamentally change this. In particular, it provides the first real opportunity for teachers to communicate with each other across geographic or disciplinary boundaries. TESconnect, www.tes.co.uk, a social network and resource sharing platform just for teachers has been created so the professional community can come together online and share their best lesson plans. The new site unlocks a vast potential for them to collaborate and distribute the highly creative classroom materials that exist within schools throughout the country...

Key takings from the study reveal that:

90% say that quality and creativity of lesson planning is compromised due to time pressures

42% of teachers are too busy to go and meet colleagues during the school day; and 27% say that they are never in the same place at the same time

95% of teachers are aware of the value of collaboration to the quality of their lessons, but 27% say that they are never in the same place at the same time as colleagues

73% of teachers use their evenings and weekends to plan for their lessons

Nearly 50% of teachers spending an extra day a week (8 hours or more) preparing for lessons

Sharing resources saves teachers time. Existing TES resource bank users say that they save on average 31 minutes preparation time per lesson by downloading shared resources, with significant numbers of teachers saving up to an hour

84% of teachers say that an online professional network would help them share their ideas, regardless of time and place

In 2007, teachers downloaded 2.9 million resources from the TES resource bank

Teachers saved 400,000 hours in planning and preparation time as a result - the equivalent of hiring 600 full-time teachers

At current growth rates, teachers will be downloading over 80 million resources every year by 2012, saving 14.3 million 'hidden' teaching hours - the equivalent of hiring 21,400 fulltime teachers

Resource sharing is already growing at 180% per annum on www.tes.co.uk and growth is expected to increase with the launch of the new website TESconnect.

Where will those hidden hours go?

The study indicates that online resource sharing is set to have a positive impact on not only the lives of teachers but also those of the pupils they teach. Using a social network will mean that teachers will be spending less time alone to plan and create resources, and instead will be online connecting with, and being inspired by, the ideas and resources of other teachers. Teachers using existing online resources such as the TES Resource Bank, part of www.tes.co.uk, felt their lessons were more creative and fun as a result of this inspiration. Asked as part of the report 'what would you use the extra time saved for?' 744 teachers said a priority would be to spend more time tracking pupil progress, 853 said they would be able to mark books more effectively and 774 said they would spend more one-to-one time with pupils. All time ultimately invested in the quality and teaching experience within the classroom.

Johanna Radcliffe, NQT maths teacher from Blackpool uses TESconnect to share resources and ideas: “My biggest challenge is inspiring a class of children that are easily distracted and lack the enthusiasm to learn. Using social networks I don’t feel that I am the only teacher in this situation and I have access to a wealth of ideas that help make my classroom a fun and vibrant place to learn. It frees up my time, so I am able give more individual attention to the children that need it.”

Edward Griffith, Head of TESconnect comments: "Our research clearly demonstrates that resource sharing can revolutionise lesson planning and the quality of lessons taught. All teachers have a passion for sharing knowledge, not just with their pupils but increasingly amongst themselves too. We are on the verge of a revolution in education; by giving teachers the tools to do this I genuinely believe teachers will achieve even more remarkable results. We now have the technology to help teachers teach not only better individual lessons but to become better, happier teachers, which ultimately has an important impact on the quality of our children’s education."

TESconnect , for teachers, by teachers

Used by thousands of schools and colleges, with over 500,000 registered users, TESconnect, is the central focus for the UK teaching community at every level to share their ideas, thoughts and views outside the staffroom. TESconnect is a social network that allows teachers to network, share resources and search for jobs. It is the world’s largest social network for a single profession and allows teachers to connect with other professionals to find and share their best classroom resources and advice. Split into four user-friendly sections including jobs, community, resources and My TES, the site gives teachers access to tools that have the potential to transform lesson planning and the quality of lessons taught. Further details on the site:

Community: The world’s largest online social network for teachers where they can share their professional profile with peers, discuss a range of issues on the forums, and see what their professional colleagues have been making good use of in the classroom


Resources: The TESconnect Resources section is home to a vast library of teaching resources, all created and uploaded by other teachers in the TES community for everyone to share. With separate channels for every type of teacher from a nursery to a primary or secondary school, there are all kinds of classroom materials from lesson plans, videos, powerpoints and assessments; games, puzzles and quizzes to worksheets and tutorials. With over 20,000 resources already in the site, hundreds are uploaded by the community every week.

Jobs: www.tes.co.uk is the number one site for the best teaching jobs from all across the country, with over 500,000 registered users, it is the UK’s leading online recruitment resource for schools and colleges looking to find new quality teaching and support staff. Now a key part of TESconnect, visitors to the jobs section can browse by position, subject, workplace and by location and build customised job alerts so when that perfect new job vacancy appears it is sent to them

My TES: A personalised page where teachers can save the content that is relevant to them. Users also receive updates from the local community as well as bookmarks and links to top content on the site

About TESconnect

TESconnect builds on the success of www.tes.co.uk which is already the UK's most popular site for the teaching community with over 500,000 registered users. A prototype resource sharing tool TSL’s Resource Bank was launched in 2006 as part of www.tes.co.uk. TESconnect is a professional network for teachers to search for jobs, discuss ideas and share resources from lesson plans to poster and worksheets. TESconnect can be accessed at www.tes.co.uk

About TSL Education

TSL Education Ltd is the UK’s leading educational publisher and recruitment service. Its portfolio of titles includes education websites www.tes.co.uk and www.thetimeshighereducation.co.uk, print publications The Times Educational Supplement, FE Focus and Times Higher Education, and education exhibitions and events. TSL’s recruitment service, TES Prime, is a dedicated leadership service for the education sector, working with primary, secondary and independent school governors seeking a new leader for their school.

www.tes.co.uk is the home TESconnect, the UK’s leading educational website. The number one site for education jobs, TESconnect is now also the world’s largest professional network for teachers to share ideas and the best classroom resources.

Notes of the research:

The research was commissioned by TES and conducted by L.E.K Consulting in August 2008. More than 5,000 teachers who had previously registered with TES took part in an online survey designed to gather information about a wide range of teaching issues. In addition, L.E.K. conducted two focus groups, involving 21 teachers from around the country. The participants in the study covered a range of teacher and school types, levels of experience, subject specialisation, and geographies. To request a copy of the report titled 'The Digital Staffroom: How social networking and resource sharing are transforming teaching' please refer to press contacts below.

About L.E.K. Consulting

L.E.K. Consulting is an international firm that specialises in strategy, transaction services and performance improvement consulting. It advises the largest private and public sector organisations, private equity companies and smaller, more entrepreneurial businesses. With a reputation for resolving the most complex commercial issues, L.E.K. helps business leaders consistently make better decisions, deliver improved business performance and create greater shareholder returns.

The firm was founded in 1983 and employs over 850 staff in 20 offices across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. In 2007, L.E.K Consulting was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for its achievements in international trade. Find out more at www.lek.com

The report can also be downloaded at: http://tesconnect.typepad.com

For more information, please call Annie Woodhead or Jessica Helyer on tes@hotwirepr.com or on 020 7608 2500 or Ginni Arnold on 07968 730247.