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August 8, 2023
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A summary of the working lives of teachers and leaders report

This article provides a summary of the full research report and findings of the first wave of the inaugural working lives of teachers and leaders survey conducted in spring 2022 by IFF Research and the Institute of Education (IoE) on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE).

The first wave of the inaugural working lives of teachers and leaders survey conducted in spring 2022 by IFF Research and the Institute of Education (IoE) on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE) focused on teachers’ and leaders’ experiences, views and opinions on various aspects oftheir work, including pupil behaviour, pay and reward, flexible working, workload,wellbeing, professional development and career plans.

This article provides a summary of the survey findings. You can read the full report using the following link - click here

Pupil Behaviour:

The survey found that almost two-thirds (62%) of teachers and leaders in state schools in England rated pupil behaviour as ‘good’ or‘very good’, and a further one in five (22%) rated it as ‘acceptable’. Primary teachers and leaders were more likely to rate behaviour as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ than those at secondary settings. Leaders in both phases (85% compared with 58% of teachers) and headteachers (95%) were more likely to rate behaviouras ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

In terms of support to deal with persistently disruptiv ebehaviour, six-in-ten (61%) of those with teaching responsibilities felt supported effectively. However, secondary school teachers were less likely to agree that they were supported compared to primary school teachers or those working in special schools, PRUs or AP. A majority (68%) of all respondents agreed that their school’s leadership team set high expectations for pupil behaviour, supported by clear rules and processes.

Bullying, Harassment, and Staff Inclusion:

Over one in ten (12%) of teachers and leaders reported experiencing bullying in the last 12 months, and 8% reported experiencing discrimination. Secondary teachers, SENCOs, and those less satisfied with their job were the groups most likely to have experienced bullying or harassment. Those from a Black or other ethnic minority background were more likely than White teachers or leaders to report bullying (15% vs. 11%) and discrimination(18% vs. 7%). Those with a disability were more likely than those with no disability to report bullying (17% vs. 10%), discrimination (12% vs. 7%) or both (7% vs. 3%). Most (70%) teachers and leaders agreed that their school valued an equal, diverse, and inclusive workforce. Leaders, primary school teachers and leaders, and teachers and leaders at LA maintained schools were most likely to agree. However, teachers and leaders with a disability were less likely to agree or strongly agree that their school valued an equal, diverse and inclusive workforce.

Teacher and Leader Wellbeing:

The survey found that teacher and leader wellbeing in English state schools is lower than equivalent wellbeing scores for the UK population. The mean scores for life satisfaction, happiness, and anxiety were 6.1, 6.3, and 4.6 respectively. Leaders reported higher wellbeing scores compared to teachers. Other groups with notably lower wellbeing scores were primary teachers and leaders and those in schools with serious weakness or in special measures according to Ofsted inspections data. There was a link between pupil behaviour and anxiety levels among teachers, with reported anxiety levels higher among those who reported poor pupil behaviour compared to those who considered pupil behaviour to be good. Many teachers and leaders felt that their work was having a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. For example, a large majority said that they experienced stress in their work (86%), around three-fifths felt their job did not give them sufficient time for their personal life (65%), and around half (56%) said their job negatively affected their mental health (45% said it negatively affected their physical health).

Professional Development and Career Plans:

The survey found that most teachers and leaders were positive about their professional development opportunities, with 72% saying they were satisfied with the opportunities for career progression available to them.

The inaugural Working Lives of Teachers and Leaders survey was carried out in Spring 2022 with teachers and leaders in state schools in England. Conducted by IFF Research and the Institute of Education (IoE) on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE), the survey is longitudinal by design and will run annually for at least five years, up to 2026.

If you are looking to start measuring staff wellbeing in your school, we have a number of key surveys which can help you gain confidential insights to help identify areas to improve, prevent, and manage work-related stress, workload and wellbeing.

  1. The Work-Related Quality of Life Scale - This survey can help schools evaluate teachers' job satisfaction and well-being, across six key areas: workload, control, reward, community, fairness, and values. For more information click here.This questionnaire has been completed by thousands of educational professionals across the world and is a great place to start in understanding your staff needs as a school.
  2. The HSE Work-Related Stress Scale - The survey consists of 35 items that ask about 'working conditions' known to be potential causes of work related stress. It provides feedback on the seven stressor categories included in the UK Health and Safety Executive's Management Standards. For more information click here. The survey is recognised by the Department For Education's Staff Wellbeing Charter, a declaration of support for, and set of commitments to, the wellbeing and mental health of everyone working in education.


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