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June 11, 2024Comments are off for this post.

A Sneak Peak into People Power Day: Leadership Strategies in School Trusts

As we gear up for our next People Power Day 2024, we’re sharing reflections from one of the speakers joining the session on leadership strategies. Jeremy Meek, CEO of The Kite Academy Trust, shares his reflections on leadership and the work that he and his team are doing to ensure wellbeing and retention of staff. It goes to show that great leaders take great care to listen to their staff and create a shared vision of a quality, supportive work environment. We look forward to the discussion next week!

Jeremy_Meek

Jeremy is the recently appointed CEO of The Kite Academy Trust. Having had responsibility for twenty different schools as Headteacher, Executive Leader and now CEO, Jeremy has dedicated his career to continuously improving education and the life chances of all young people.  Jeremy holds a firm belief that an organisation’s people are its richest resource and greatest asset and is committed to ensuring a relentless focus on the support, development and wellbeing of every Kite colleague.

The Connection between Great Leadership and Retention 

Since taking up my first headship in 2012, I have had the privilege of leading twenty different primary schools (as headteacher, executive leader and now CEO of a ten school multi-academy trust) and the impact of great leadership on recruitment and excellent retention has never been more significant.

For any organisation, its employees are its greatest asset and richest resource and, most importantly, they are people and, as such, we strive to prioritise workload and wellbeing within all strategic planning. In this short piece for Edurio, I would like to share some of the strategies that we have adopted at The Kite Academy Trust to keep our people (along with our pupils) at the heart of our organisation.

Colleague Engagement in Organisational Purpose 

Colleague Engagement in Organisational Purpose 

One of the first steps we took at The Kite was to engage a selection of colleagues across the Trust – from every academy and business team, regardless of role or responsibility – to help co-create our Trust values in support of our mission and vision, via a Trust-wide INSET day.

We felt that if we truly wanted to empower our colleagues to live our values, to not only support our pupils’ personal development but to create the optimal organisational culture, engagement in the creation of our values was paramount.

Practical Workload and Wellbeing Strategies 

Practical Workload and Wellbeing Strategies 

As part of our Trust’s People & Culture strategy, we have introduced a number of very specific and practical initiatives designed to focus on the reduction of workload and continuous improvement of colleague wellbeing. 

For example, through our Trust-wide networks and systems which facilitate collaboration in curriculum planning, every teaching colleague - regardless of the size or capacity of their home academy - benefits from shared PPA time with all other year group colleagues from across the Trust. Alongside the implementation of a Trust-wide curriculum, these trust wide PPA networks ensure that workload for teachers is shared across our entire team.

We have also sought to demonstrate the esteem we hold for our colleagues through the introduction of a benefits programme that offers both free rewards and discounted products and services. The savings our colleagues have made to date across the Trust have already been greater than the cost of the platform, which demonstrates the excellent value for money. As a fundamental entitlement of the working day, we have also introduced free hot drinks for all colleagues (a simple benefit to introduce and one that colleagues have reported makes a small, but real difference to their working day). 

Communication and Colleague Voice 

Communication and Colleague Voice

At The Kite, we value open and honest feedback, however challenging it can sometimes be to hear. As a key part of our commitment to our people, protecting time in my diary, as CEO, to meet weekly with colleagues is a priority.

It is both fascinating and informative to listen to colleagues from all areas and every level of our organisation about what they feel our Trust does well and what could be improved, in addition to the barriers to excellence  that individuals face in their roles.

These regular conversations across the Trust support the feedback we collect from a recently introduced rolling programme of Trust-wide surveys, the first of which was primarily focused on wellbeing and workload. The information gathered from our people across the Trust is vital to our ‘you said, we did’ feedback loop and to the development of our Trust’s future strategy. 

We endeavour to make effective Trust-wide communication a priority and, through the introduction of our termly ‘Town Hall’ meetings, we have provided a forum where every Kite colleague can regularly come together virtually to hear key Trust priorities, receive updates on opportunities across the Trust, and most importantly, collectively celebrate our successes. 

Although it is still early days, we have seen a reduction in colleague turnover to this point in the year of 50%, and a significant increase in applications for new posts we have created across the Trust.

For more information:

For more insights about leadership strategies and best-practice stories from top education leadership teams, download the Edurio Leadership Guide

Jeremy Meek, CEO of The Kite Academy Trust, will be joined by John Murphy, Education Leadership Mentor, in the Leadership Strategies in School Trusts session as a part of our People Power Day 2024.

June 5, 2024Comments are off for this post.

Updates to EEF’s A School’s Guide to Implementation

This article is written by Complete Mathematics, a company that works in partnership with leaders of schools and school groups looking to improve attainment in mathematics, embedding evidence-based approaches through platforms and expert CPD which apply beyond mathematics.

Wondering how the EEF’s new implementation guidance for schools has changed?

Policy specialist of Complete Mathematics, Rebekah Fant-Male, has compared the frameworks and analysed what the changes in advice mean for you.

In 2019, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) updated their original guide supporting schools in the implementation of new approaches and practices. In May 2024, they updated their guidance. This article summarises key changes of particular relevance for school and system leaders.

Executive Summary of Updates

Stages to Phases

EEF’s 2019 update to “A School’s Guide to Implementation” defined implementation as a process with stages set out in a very rigid, linear structure. The new guidance takes a different approach, representing Explore, Prepare, Deliver, Sustain as phases, subtly shifting their scope to enable greater flexibility in how leaders think about implementation.

Significance of the Changes

This is not just updating references, but a significant shift in how schools do implementation, although in focus rather than content.

In one sentence, whereas the previous guidance supported school leaders to do implementation, this is how school and system leaders can do implementation well.

Behaviours and Context FIRST

The previous 6 Recommendations have been condensed into 3. New Behaviours (Recommendation 1) and Contextual Factors (Recommendation 2) underpin successful implementation and precede the familiar Implementation Phases (Recommendation 3).

The Behaviours - Engage, Unite and Reflect - are explicitly interwoven throughout the guidance, while greater emphasis on Contextual Factors encourages leaders to reflect on existing structures and systems. Rather than layering additional demands, this change encourages implementations which connect into what is already in place where possible to embed changes more effectively.

Tammy Elward, Director of the Derby Research School and the Spencer Teaching School Hub considers the value of the guidance for Multi Academy Trust Leaders:

“Anchoring our practice in evidence as leaders is a challenge because it's not just what we do, but the way that we do it that makes the difference. The new guidance report captures the key aspects from a wide range of research sources and codifies them into a clear framework for us as leaders to think really carefully about how we lead change in our schools and make the biggest difference for our pupils.”

A Focus on Feedback

Contextual analysis

Under this guidance, there is less scope for leaders to deterministically implement an intervention they already believe to be the best solution, without undertaking sufficient analysis. However, to mitigate this further, I would prefer to see ‘What is being implemented’ as the final contextual factor (see below), rather than the first.

The figure above presents how the three recommendations integrate throughout implementation. I would simply caution, in line with the update’s shift towards a more flexible framework, against carrying forward a mindset of implementation as a linear process. Interventions should result from an analysis of the contextual factors surrounding the perceived “problem” or need, encapsulated by the Reflect behaviour, rather than being determined before existing systems, structures and people have been duly considered.

Iona Jackson, Head of Insights at Edurio, evidences the importance of using feedback authentically, from their national survey data:

“In 2022/23, about one third of staff (34%) said that their feedback to the leadership always or often has an impact. However, about one in four (27%) of staff said that their feedback rarely or never has an impact."

Retention is one of the most pressing current issues for school systems in the UK and globally and Edurio also found that,

"...only 17% of staff with a high risk of resignation always or often see that their feedback to the leadership has an impact, while 48% of staff with a low risk of resignation always or often see that their feedback to the leadership has an impact."

EEF (2024) also emphasises that, “stress and burnout can be damaging for individuals and prove a barrier to implementation... particularly relevant during the initial delivery period if staff are inexperienced or if key people leave a project” (p40).

Of practical relevance for implementation leaders, Ms Jackson tells us that Edurio's recent report Leadership Strategies in School Trusts involved,

"interview[ing] leadership teams with leadership scores above national benchmarks in Edurio data. We found that although approaches may differ, open, clear and consistent communication, as well as proactive problem-solving through collaboration, were all mentioned by top leadership teams.”

Fit and Feasibility

Explore Phase: EEF's updated tool (p.25) roots the implementation decision-making process in the needs and context. The phrase ‘fit and feasibility’ is retained and brings to the fore ‘insights and perspectives…  from across the school community - staff, pupils, parents’ (p.23) to avoid preconceptions. It acknowledges informal conversations as a source of data about the school context, alongside external data on what has worked in similar contexts. This should prompt richer reflection on the implications of potential interventions on the wider school context.

Fit and feasibility return in Prepare, to consider competing initiatives, and in Sustain. Rather than “How will the initiative be scaled?” the question is instead, “On reflection, should we sustain, scale or de-implement this approach?”

Readiness: Reflection on barriers and enablers of change has moved from Prepare to Explore, sensibly determining the school’s readiness for change prior to writing an implementation plan. As contextual factors, reflection on structures and elements of culture which help or hinder change are threaded through the update’s implementation phases. In this way, readiness is not confined to a single point in a process, but a state that might change, due to factors within or beyond a leader’s control. For example, government policy might necessitate new implementations, requiring thought as to whether new changes might be integrated within implementation plans, or potentially de-implemented.

'Successful’ Implementations

Fidelity and Flexibility

I am pleased to see this update taking a more nuanced approach to implementation fidelity, based on research which suggests adaptations can lead to more effective embedding of change.

The language of deciding where to be “tight” and where to be “loose” is retained. Meanwhile, “active ingredients” have become “core components”. This terminology prompts leaders to define which elements teachers should apply consistently  - those “core” to avoiding lethal mutations, whilst allowing flexibility for (some) adaptations by teachers as professionals in complex contexts.

Leaders might consider core components as they plan how implementation outcomes will be monitored and shared in order to retain both flexibility and fidelity.

Iona Jackson adds insights Edurio uncovered on cultures encouraging collective expertise, where leaders listen to feedback and allow it to shape their decision-making to truly impact their communities.

“A significant piece of advice from Gavin Booth, CEO at Infinity Academies Trust, is promoting a culture where seeking help and guidance is seen as a strength rather than a weakness. This approach challenges the misconception that to be effective, leaders must operate independently. He questions, 'Why have you done this on your own? You didn’t need to do this on your own; we would have helped to do that.' This sentiment underscores the importance of collaborative efforts and leveraging collective expertise within a trust."

Interwoven Behaviours and Contextual Factors

Unite, Engage and Reflect behaviours are continually and explicitly referenced throughout the guidance. Opportunities for teachers and leaders to collaborate and reflect together are made more explicit than in previous versions, with greater emphasis on systems and structures which remove other pressures from teacher workload gleaned from listening to teacher feedback, such as removing administration tasks and ‘prun[ing] competing initiatives’ (EEF, 2024, p.39).

Conclusions

The EEF's update sends a clear message: analyse your context and culture; develop structures which give teachers the time and resources to engage with the intervention; unite around the implementation process and reflect together at every phase.

The three facets of the original Implementation Process, in combination with Behaviours and Contextual Factors exemplify the purpose to support leaders not to just do implementation, but to do it well. Tammy Elward sums up how the behaviours and contextual factors reinforce the implementation process as follows:

To learn more from Derby Research School about how to apply the new guidance, register for their Summer Webinar Series, starting 22nd May.

Edurio's new resource, "Leadership Strategies in School Trusts", explores what it takes to be a high-achieving leader in a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT). The guide includes sections on Leadership structures and styles, practice and impact, challenges and solutions, and advice to leaders.

May 7, 2024Comments are off for this post.

How to successfully lead a school trust?

Learnings from Edurio’s recent Leadership Guide

Leadership’s impact on a trust’s eco-system

It goes without saying that the relationships people in leadership positions cultivate with their staff, pupils and community are critical to the success of an organisation. We see it reflected in data as well. In 2022/23, 46% of staff said that they feel completely or very appreciated by leadership for their work. However, one in four staff (25%) said that they feel only slightly appreciated or not appreciated at all. Staff feeling appreciated by their leadership is especially important for retention. Our data shows that out of all questions related to staff experience, this question has the strongest relationship with the risk of resignation.

But what does quality leadership look like in action? With that question in mind we set out to ask leadership teams who are achieving top leadership scores, which are above national benchmarks in Edurio data, what they think are the keys to their success. The guide is based on a series of detailed interviews with over 10 members of leadership teams at MATs. We spoke to a range of key figures including Chief Executive Officers, Chief Operating Officers, HR Directors, and Headteachers.

Top-performing leadership teams:

  1. Have clear team structures, a collaborative leadership style and an organisational culture focused on strong relationships

We identified three areas that play a part in successful leadership: the structure of the trust leadership team and how this filters down to the leadership team in schools; the somewhat subjective element of leadership style; and finally, the overarching emphasis on culture as a key element driving successful leadership.

Leadership Structure: Trusts and schools with strong leadership favour a distributed leadership model, sharing responsibilities across roles to ensure widespread leadership. This distribution empowers individuals at various levels, while being supported by governance and strategic planning, and aligns with school and community needs.

Christine_Ellis_Cranmer_Education_Trust

“We talk about it being in our DNA to train people and look after people, and it’s that civic responsibility, the wider responsibility than an individual school or trust. We’ve all got to do this. We’ve got to find ways of recruiting people into teaching...” – COO Christine Ellis, Cranmer Education Trust

Leadership Style: A recurring theme is the focus on a collaborative and open-door leadership style. This style is characterised by approachability, regular engagement with staff through informal chats, and strategic inset days aimed at sharing ideas. Trusts and schools invest significantly in developing their leaders through coaching, both external and internal.

Andy_Seymour_Nova_Education_Trust

“We have what we call Trust Strategic Leaders, which are some of our head teachers who have been given the opportunity to do trust-wide leadership work... it helps reinforce our principles of collective efficacy; we believe in collaboration.” – Director of School Improvement Andy Seymour, Nova Education Trust

Culture: The culture within these trusts and schools prioritises strong relationships, transparency, and responsiveness, ensuring that staff, pupils, and the wider community feel valued and supported. Trusts recognise the importance of extending their impact beyond the immediate school environment and engaging in community and outreach activities.

Gavin_Booth_Infinity_Academies_Trust

“The premise of the whole trust is relationships. So, the relationships between our children and our staff and our staff and each other, our schools and the wider community. Everything is driven through a lens of positive relationships and having a positive impact.” – CEO Gavin Booth, Infinity Academies Trust

2. Know which practises will yield the biggest impact

In 2022/23, about one third of staff (34%) said that their feedback to the leadership always or often has an impact. However, about one in four (27%) of staff said that their feedback rarely or never has an impact. Moreover, only 17% of staff with a high risk of resignation always or often see that their feedback to the leadership has an impact, while 48% of staff with a low risk of resignation always or often see that their feedback to the leadership has an impact.

How staff needs are taken into account and the way feedback is used to improve as an organisation are critical to success. The majority of the leadership teams interviewed mentioned the topics of collaboration, staff wellbeing, having a strong people strategy in place, and innovation throughout the trust. These could be considered the areas that leaders have the biggest influence and power to drive impact for their staff and community. But underlying these practices is the humble understanding that regular check-ins and reflection are at the heart of understanding and listening to the people in the organisation.

Excerpt from Pinnacle Learning Trust
Being on the Same Page
The impact of Pinnacle Learning Trust’s distributed leadership is particularly evident in its approach to communication.

Reflecting on the Trust’s high leadership scores, Pamela McIlroy, COO, is very straightforward: “You can be doing wonderful things, but if you are not communicating that to your staff, then none of you are on the same page.” The Trust Executive Team’s bi-weekly meetings, which include communications to and from the principals and the CEO’s involvement in meetings at different academies, reinforce this inclusive communication structure. Cross-trust groups, such as the safeguarding and staff engagement groups, further consolidate this approach by ensuring consistency and fostering a sense of belonging across the Trust.

Excerpt from The Priory Federation of Academies Trust

Staff Wellbeing Champions
In recognition of the recruitment and retention issues across the local and national sector, due to workload pressures and stress, Trust and school leaders at The Priory Federation of Academies Trust dedicated efforts to improve staff wellbeing before it became an issue.

As a result, the Trust set up a strategic group with representatives from the central teams and schools, which eventually appointed a Staff Wellbeing Director.

“From the midday supervisor, who perhaps comes to work for an hour a day, through to the CEO, who is probably regarded as the most important person in the Trust, everybody is treated equally in that respect. Staff wellbeing is about every member of staff.” – Primary Executive Jill Marston

The introduction of Mental Health First Aiders and Staff Wellbeing Champions throughout the Trust’s schools and central service teams demonstrates a multi-layered approach to wellbeing. This structure ensures staff have immediate support contacts whilst maintaining a seamless link of communication and support from the Trust to individual academies. The role of Staff Wellbeing Champions is to signpost colleagues to relevant charities, organisations, or counselling services. The Trust also brings all the champions together two to three times a year to share best practice and to brainstorm further solutions. Through the training of representatives as Mental Health First Aiders and the establishment of a network of Wellbeing Champions, the Trust has ingrained a culture of care that is both accessible and robust.

The new resource by Edurio, "Leadership Strategies in School Trusts", explores what it takes to be a high-achieving leader in a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT). The guide includes sections on Leadership structures and styles, practice and impact, challenges and solutions, and advice to leaders. We finish the guide with advice for CEOs on retention from John Murphy, Education Leadership Mentor and ex-CEO of one the largest UK MATs. The conclusion from Ambition Institute’s Rich Bell, Director of Policy and Practice, and Katy Patten, Dean of Learning Design, encapsulates the profound influence of strong leadership on fostering retention.

May 2, 2024Comments are off for this post.

Enhancing Wellbeing: Edurio Staff Experience Survey and CIPD’s 7 Key Domains

In today's fast-paced work environment, ensuring the wellbeing of employees has become paramount for organisations striving for success. Understanding and addressing the various facets of employee wellbeing can be complex, but tools like the Edurio Staff Experience Survey can provide valuable insights. In this blog, we'll explore how the survey aligns with the seven key domains of wellbeing outlined by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

1. Health

The Edurio School Staff Experience Survey addresses physical and mental health aspects by examining factors like health promotion, sleep quality, stress management, and the sense of purpose within a role. Questions related to physical safety and mental health are incorporated, reflecting the importance of ensuring a safe and supportive workplace environment.

2. Good Work

The survey delves into various aspects of good work, including the working environment, line management effectiveness, work demands, and change management. By evaluating factors such as job satisfaction, work-life balance, and communication during change processes, the survey helps organisations identify areas for improvement in promoting positive work experiences.

3. Values/Principles

Through questions related to leadership, ethical standards, and inclusion and diversity, the Edurio Staff Experience Survey assesses the alignment of organisational values with employees' experiences.

4. Collective/Social

Employee voice and positive relationships are central themes in the survey, emphasising the importance of communication, consultation, and healthy relationships within the organisation. By soliciting feedback on management styles and team dynamics, the survey enables organisations to nurture a supportive and collaborative work environment.

5. Personal Growth

The survey explores opportunities for career development, emotional wellbeing, lifelong learning, and creativity. Questions related to mentoring, CPD and access to training highlight the significance of supporting employees' personal and professional growth.

6. Good Lifestyle Choices

While the survey does not directly address physical activity or healthy eating initiatives, organisations can use the insights gained to introduce such programs based on employee feedback and preferences.

7. Financial Wellbeing

By examining fair pay and benefits policies, the survey sheds light on the financial wellbeing of employees. Insights into areas like flexible benefits schemes can guide organisations in enhancing financial security for their workforce.

In conclusion, the Edurio School Staff Experience Survey serves as a valuable tool for organisations looking to support employee wellbeing across various domains. Given its alignment with CIPD's seven key domains of wellbeing, the survey empowers organisations to identify areas for improvement and implement targeted strategies to create a positive and supportive workplace culture. Prioritising employee wellbeing not only enhances individual satisfaction and productivity but also contributes to the overall success and sustainability of the organisation.Wellbeing at Work

May 2, 2024Comments are off for this post.

Bridging Wellbeing: The Edurio Staff Experience Survey and DfE Wellbeing Charter

In recent years, the importance of prioritising employee wellbeing in educational settings has gained significant attention. The Department for Education (DfE) has introduced the  as a framework to support trusts, schools and colleges in promoting staff wellbeing. In this blog, we'll explore how the Edurio School Staff Experience Survey aligns with the principles of the DfE Wellbeing Charter.

Understanding the DfE Wellbeing Charter

The DfE Wellbeing Charter aims to provide a structured approach for educational institutions to support the wellbeing of their staff. It outlines key principles and commitments across various domains, including leadership, workload, professional development, and communication.

The Edurio Staff Experience Survey: A Complementary Tool

The Edurio School Staff Experience Survey serves as a comprehensive tool for gathering feedback from teachers and other staff members on various aspects of their workplace experiences. Let's delve into how the survey links to the principles outlined in the DfE Wellbeing Charter:

1. Leadership and Management

The survey assesses perceptions of leadership effectiveness, communication, and support from management. By soliciting feedback on leadership practices and management styles, the survey enables educational institutions to identify areas for improvement in line with the DfE Wellbeing Charter's emphasis on supportive leadership.

2. Workload and Working Environment

Questions related to workload, job satisfaction, and the working environment provide insights into factors impacting staff wellbeing. The survey helps institutions address workload concerns and create conducive working environments, aligning with the DfE Wellbeing Charter's focus on managing workload effectively.

3. Professional Development

The survey explores opportunities for career development, training, and mentorship. By assessing staff perceptions of professional growth opportunities, institutions can align their practices with the DfE Wellbeing Charter's emphasis on supporting staff development and progression.

4. Communication and Support

Communication channels, feedback mechanisms, and support structures are evaluated through the survey. Institutions can use feedback to enhance communication processes and ensure staff feel supported, in line with the DfE Wellbeing Charter's principles of open communication and staff support.

5. Health and Wellbeing

The survey addresses physical and mental health aspects, including stress management and access to support. By prioritising staff health and wellbeing, institutions can fulfill the commitments outlined in the DfE Wellbeing Charter to promote a healthy work-life balance and support staff welfare.

Conclusion

The Edurio Staff Experience Survey offers educational institutions a valuable tool for assessing and improving staff wellbeing, aligning with the principles of the DfE Wellbeing Charter. By leveraging the survey's insights, institutions can demonstrate their commitment to supporting staff wellbeing and creating positive working environments. Ultimately, prioritising staff wellbeing not only benefits individual employees but also enhances overall morale, productivity, and the quality of education provided. As educational institutions continue to navigate the challenges of the modern workplace, initiatives like the Edurio Staff Experience Survey play a vital role in promoting staff wellbeing and fostering a culture of support and collaboration.

March 8, 2024Comments are off for this post.

Changes in staff wellbeing in schools: A mid-term analysis

Every year, we review our national datasets for trends midway through the academic year. This year is no different. We have reviewed our Staff Experience and Wellbeing survey data (2023/24 Midterm data comprised of 10,938 staff members, 2022/23 full year data comprised of 46,918 staff members). In this blog, we highlight the most significant changes in staff wellbeing in schools and trusts.

Positive changes

Which areas have seen the most positive change in staff wellbeing?

Looking at the modules in our Staff Experience and Wellbeing survey, we can see that staff perceptions regarding professional support have improved. Particularly, responses to questions related to support from line managers have improved.

This module has seen an increase in positive responses to all of its questions. Increases for individual questions range from +2% to +4%.

What specific questions have seen the most positive change?

Responses to the question, “How satisfied are you with the performance management (appraisal) procedures in the school?” show that staff are 5% more positive (very or quite satisfied) so far in the 2023/24 academic year than they were in the 2022/23 academic year.

Edurio survey results on staff wellbeing in schools

To the question, “How often does your line manager take your professional needs into account?” staff are 4% more positive (always/often) in the 2023/24 academic year so far than they were in the 2022/23 academic year.

Edurio survey results on professional support

Differences in staff wellbeing in schools by school phase

One area where we often see a difference in staff experience is by phase. Here, we are going to look at the changes in positive responses by phase, comparing the experiences of primary and secondary school staff.

What has changed for primary and secondary staff?

Staff from primary schools (2,704 staff members) were much more positive about student behaviour than those from secondary schools (7,094 staff members) in the 2022/23 academic year, yet now, in the 2023/24 academic year, there is much less of a difference. Specifically, secondary school staff have become more positive about questions in the Student Behaviour module, and those from primary schools were less positive this academic year compared to the results in 2022/2023. When exploring the data in our up-to-date mid-year benchmarks for the Staff Experience and Wellbeing survey, we can see that primary school staff perceptions of student behaviour have changed negatively.

The student behaviour module has seen a notable decrease in positive responses from primary staff. In fact, positive responses have decreased for all five questions in the module. The decreases for individual questions range from -2% to -10%.

When it comes to secondary staff, there is an increase in positive responses for the student behaviour module. Here, increases for individual questions range from +4% to +8%.

When asked about feelings of safety, primary school staff were 10% less positive this year compared to last year's benchmark. Alternatively, staff from secondary schools were 5% more positive than last year.

Edurio survey results on school staff feelings of safety

Responses to the question asking to rate student behaviour show a similar story. Primary school staff were 7% less positive this year compared to last year's benchmark. However, staff from secondary schools were 8% more positive than last year.

Edurio survey results on pupil behaviour in schools

Understanding the bigger picture

If you are interested in exploring the topic of staff wellbeing in more detail:

February 29, 2024Comments are off for this post.

Top 10 (plus 2!) Education Leadership Books for School Leaders

As a school leader, you're probably often on the hunt for books that can provide recommendations and insights regarding wellbeing, leadership advice, and general education information. At Edurio we regularly produce research related to school improvement, staff and pupil wellbeing, EDI and more, so we’re always on the lookout for the best books talking about education.

Here are some excellent books (in no particular order) that have been published on school improvement recently, surrounding school improvement and leadership. As an added bonus, we’ve included a book for teachers and one book to look out for this year!

1. Outstanding School Leadership by Peter Hughes (2023)

Through a series of case studies and interviews with successful school leaders, Hughes identifies the core principles and practices that lead to outstanding outcomes for schools and students alike creating a blueprint for excellence in educational leadership. This book is an essential resource for anyone looking to elevate their leadership skills and drive meaningful change in the education sector.

2. Diverse Educators: A Manifesto by Bennie Kara and Hannah Wilson (2022)

The importance of equality, diversity and inclusion in schools is more important than ever. This book takes the structure of the Equality Act and lays out chapters on each of the Protected Characteristics with contributions from various people in the sector speaking directly to their experience. An enlightening read for anyone dedicated to creating a more inclusive environment in their organisation.

3. Terms of Engagement: New Ways of Leading and Changing Organizations by Richard H. Axelrod (2010)

Although not one of the newest books on our list, Terms of Engagement is a must read for any leader working to make changes happen in their organisation. The key to successful change is communication and Axelrod lays out a framework that will guide you through roadblocks when communication stalls or miscommunication happens, getting you to involve the right stakeholders and building true solutions no matter what type of organisation you work in.

4. Women Navigating Educational Leadership by Jana L. Carlisle (2024)

What’s it like to be a woman working in educational leadership today? Interviewing 37 women leaders between 2020 and 2022, this book takes a look at their experiences in a broad range of settings and experiences. This speaks to the underrepresentation of women in educational leadership positions today and invites discussion around what can be done to support women more effectively.

5. Humble Leadership by Edgar H. Schein (2018)

In "Humble Leadership," Edgar H. Schein, with his extensive experience in organisational psychology, explores the power of humility in leadership. Schein argues that the key to effective leadership and organisational success lies in building deeper, trust-based relationships with team members. By fostering an environment where vulnerability and openness are valued, leaders can unlock the full potential of their teams. This book is a compelling read for anyone interested in transforming their leadership style to cultivate a more inclusive and collaborative workplace culture.

6. Imperfect Leadership in Action: A practical book for school leaders who know they don’t know it all by Steve Munby and Marie-Claire Bretherton (2022)

A practical resource based on Munby’s previous book, Imperfect Leadership, is designed to help leaders reflect on their role and embrace the imperfect aspects of leadership. A great resource for anyone wanting some more directed prompts and practical case studies to grow as a leader in challenging situations.

7. School Leaders Matter by Helen Kelly (2023)

Drawing on research and real-world examples, Kelly highlights the strategies and qualities that distinguish effective school leaders, emphasising the pivotal role of leadership in shaping the success of educational institutions. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges and opportunities in educational leadership, offering valuable insights for current and aspiring school leaders aiming to make a significant impact on their communities.

8. New School Leader. What now? By Neil Renton (2023)

This is the definitive guide for newly appointed school leaders navigating the complexities of their roles. This book covers everything from setting a vision and building a supportive culture to managing finances and handling difficult conversations. Renton's practical advice and real-life anecdotes provide a roadmap for making a positive and lasting impact in your school.

9. The Authentic Leader by Andrew Morrish (2022)

Morrish challenges conventional leadership wisdom, advocating for a leadership style rooted in authenticity and integrity. Through personal stories and examples from a range of sectors, Morrish illustrates how authentic leaders inspire trust, foster innovation, and drive performance. This book is a must-read for leaders seeking to develop a leadership style that is true to themselves and effective in today’s dynamic world.

10. My School & Multi Academy Trust Growth Guide by Al Kingsley (2023)

This is an essential manual for educational leaders looking to navigate the complexities of expanding their schools and trusts. With a practical approach, Kingsley shares insights on strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, financial management, and sustainable growth practices. This book also delves into the importance of leveraging technology and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. A must-read for any leader aiming to scale their educational institution while maintaining quality and integrity.

If you’re looking to support teaching and learning, get teachers to read this:

Just Great Teaching by Ross Morrison McGill (@TeacherToolkit) (2019)

Ross Morrison McGill, known online as @TeacherToolkit, distils decades of teaching experience into "Just Great Teaching." This book delves into practical strategies and innovative approaches to overcome common classroom challenges. With a focus on enhancing pupil engagement, curriculum design, and assessment methods, McGill offers insights that are both practical and inspiring. A go-to guide for teachers seeking to refine their practice and make a tangible impact in their students' learning journey.


Coming soon: Schools of Thought by David James and Jane Lunnon (2024)

We’re excited for "Schools of Thought" by David James and Jane Lunnon, an upcoming exploration into the diverse educational philosophies and practices that shape today’s schools. By examining the theories and ideas that underpin various educational models, the authors aim to provide educators and school leaders with a deeper understanding of how they can adopt and adapt these practices to benefit their students. Anticipated to be a thought-provoking read, this book is expected to spark debate and inspire innovation in the field of education.

Stakeholder Feedback Hub Digital Book

Complementary resource! This is a good practice guide to stakeholder surveying in schools and multi-academy trusts.

Stakeholder-feedback-hub-digital-book

This resource brings clarity and structure into the surveying process to help your school or multi-academy trust gather, analyse, and implement stakeholder feedback.

Inside, you will find a handy guide to help you conduct a successful survey:

  1. Setting Smart Goals
  2. Designing and Running Surveys
  3. Analysing Survey Results
  4. Taking Informed Action

Access your free copy here.

February 20, 2024Comments are off for this post.

5 Key Insights for Addressing Behaviour and Safety Challenges

This blog post will explore five interesting new insights from our Behaviour and Safety:  Key Trends and Challenges report. Comparing the responses from over 400,000 staff, pupils and parents from the last five years of data collection, the data in our Behaviour and Safety report explores the current educational landscape in relation to Behaviour and Safety in English Schools.

  1. Staff Report levels of Emotional or physical violence from a pupil back to pre-pandemic levels. 

Throughout the academic year 2022/23, a startling statistic emerged as 1 in 5 members of staff reported experiencing emotional or physical violence from a pupil.  

Although experiences of safety and support related to pupil behaviour improved during the pandemic, the most recent data indicates a return to, or even surpassing, pre-pandemic levels. 

2. Classroom Disruption at the highest levels since the Staff experience and Wellbeing survey began.

During the COVID-19 pandemic (2020/21), while home learning was more prominent, staff reported a lower rate of work disruption due to poor pupil behaviour (25%). As schooling has returned to normal, the data highlights a year-on-year increase in the levels of disruption being reported by staff members, now higher than pre-pandemic levels.

2022/23 data shows that 37% of staff experienced their work being disrupted constantly or often, 37% sometimes experienced their work being disrupted by poor pupil behaviour, and only 26% of staff reported their work is rarely or never disrupted by poor pupil behaviour.

3. Behaviour a Key Contributor to Staff Resignation

As we saw in our Staff Retention Blog,  43% of all staff considering resigning sometimes, often or constantly in 2022/23. In responses collected between May and December 2023/24, since introducing the question “What has made you consider resigning?” into the Staff Experience and Wellbeing Survey, pupil behaviour was the 4th most frequently reported reason for considering resigning for those who are considering resigning.

4. The majority of pupils report behaving well during class.

The report revealed that most pupils (92%) believe they behave well during class, linking positive behaviour to higher wellbeing and happiness in school. Conversely, those reporting less favourable behaviour are more likely to express dissatisfaction with their school experience. 

55% of pupils who reported behaving well in class “always, very often, quite often” were happy to be studying at their school, as opposed to 27% of pupils who reported behaving only “sometimes, rarely, or never.” 

5. Pupils' feelings of safety worsened year on year between 2020/2021 through 2022/2023.

Over the last three years, there has been a steady decline (-8%) in how safe pupils feel during class. Only 65% of pupils reported feeling “Very safe” or “Quite safe” in 2022/2023.

Additionally to the lower levels of perceived safety among pupils, 42% of pupils in 2022/23 reported feeling their learning was disrupted very or quite often by someone’s behaviour. Only 1 in 4 (27%) felt their learning was rarely or never disrupted. 

What can you do as an educational leader...

While the increasing statistics surrounding classroom disruption, the deterioration of pupil feelings of safety, more staff considering resigning than previously recorded, and pupil behaviour is one of the top reasons they report considering resigning. This data should motivate us to look for solutions, many of which already exist. 


Policy and Best practice advice from the sector

NASUWT highlight that Behaviour management strategies and policies are a crucial element of a school’s culture. They offer advice on developing behaviour management policies, and share what they believe are eight principles that underpin effective behaviour management. They highligh that the principles should be considered in conjunction with the NASUWT’s guide to Developing a Behaviour Management Policy.

The Department for Education also have a range of resources and guidance to support with behaviour in schools.

Education Endowment Foundation outline a Guidance report published in 2021, which holds valuable advice and learnings for the sector. From this report, there is a simplified recommendations poster, which has advice on proactive and reactive measures to employ in order to improve behaviour in schools. 

Resources to support pupil behaviour

When it comes to physical resources that may be helpful for behaviour management Twinkl has a great range for primary settings, with reward incentives, values-based displays, and behaviour prompts for around the classroom.

Similarly TES have a wide selection of primary and secondary based resources that can offer inspiration for your own schools/classrooms.

What's next?

If you are interested in having a closer look at Behaviour and Safety and want to understand how it impacts pupils' educational experience:

Get in touch with us at: hello@edurio.com

February 7, 2024Comments are off for this post.

Enhancing Governance: Supporting Academy Trusts in Aligning with Governance Standards

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, ensuring effective governance within academy trusts is paramount. Central to this endeavour is alignment with regulatory frameworks such as The Academy Trust Governance Code and guidelines laid out in documents like the Academy Trust Governance Guide. Among these standards, Section 1.2 of the Guide places a particular emphasis on engagement, highlighting the need for strategic oversight of relationships with stakeholders.

Here, Edurio emerges as a valuable ally, offering a suite of tools and resources designed to facilitate meaningful engagement and streamline governance processes within academy trusts.

Facilitating Stakeholder Engagement
At its core, Edurio serves to empower academy trusts to enhance stakeholder involvement and foster transparent communication throughout education organisations. By collecting and analysing stakeholder feedback on various issues, boards can effectively oversee relationships with key stakeholders, including parents, schools, and communities. This strategic approach ensures that decision-making is informed by diverse perspectives and supported by genuine engagement.

Gathering Insights through Feedback
Feedback surveys are one form of data available to academy trusts to measure the quality of education by understanding the viewpoints of its stakeholders. By collecting and analysing qualitative data (feedback surveys), and comparing the subjective views of stakeholders alongside quantitative data (outcomes, retention rates, etc.) boards can identify areas for improvement and tailor their governance strategies to better meet the needs of all stakeholders. This data-informed approach not only enhances accountability but also fosters a culture of collaboration within the trust.

Promoting Transparency in Decision-making
Communication with stakeholders is vital for the successful implementation of the strategic feedback cycle. By working to set goals and actions collaboratively, trusts cultivate true partnerships with stakeholders who trust the feedback process and believe that their honest feedback will have an impact on the school. This transparency not only builds trust and credibility but also empowers stakeholders to actively participate in governance activities and beyond.

Monitoring Performance and Demonstrating Compliance
Strategic feedback implementation supports academy trusts in meeting the broader governance objectives outlined in The Academy Trust Governance Code. By providing tools for data analysis and reporting, the Edurio platform enables boards to monitor their performance against national benchmarks and demonstrate compliance with governance standards. This proactive approach not only minimises risks but also drives continuous improvement within the trust.

Academy trusts seeking to align with governance standards and enhance their governance practices should look at all of the data available to them, especially stakeholder feedback. By facilitating stakeholder engagement, promoting transparency, and enabling evidence-informed decision-making, stakeholder feedback empowers boards to fulfil their governance responsibilities effectively. In an era of increasing complexity and scrutiny in education, stakeholder feedback surveys are one of the key tools academy trusts need to navigate challenges and drive positive change for the benefit of all stakeholders involved.

We’re here to help! Explore our free Stakeholder Feedback Hub to learn more about how to implement strategic stakeholder feedback for your organisation.

January 24, 2024Comments are off for this post.

5 Free Resources Your School Can Use to Improve Pupil Wellbeing

Pupil wellbeing is crucial for academic success, personal development, and mental health. According to the University of Oxford Impact Study, pupil wellbeing is influenced by various aspects of school life, such as curriculum, assessment, relationships, environment, and support. Therefore, a holistic and evidence-based approach is advisable for schools and trusts seeking to promote wellbeing.

In this blog, we will introduce five resources that you can use to improve pupil wellbeing: 

These resources are based on the latest research and best practices in the field of education and mental health. They are designed to help schools implement effective strategies and interventions to support pupils’ emotional, social, and psychological needs.

Oxford Impact

Based on the findings of a recent study by Dr. Ariel Lindorf from the University of Oxford, here are some evidence-based approaches to planning a pupil wellbeing strategy for your school or trust: 

  • Adapt to and consider your specific school context: Conduct proper self-evaluation before implementation to identify and address the school’s strengths and assets as well as the issues that need to be solved 
  • Adopt a whole-school approach (integrated, cross-level): Make sure that broader school policy aligns with implementation
  • Involve the wider community, including parents and families 
  • Emphasise professional development for teachers to assist them with implementation 
  • Establish monitoring systems to track and modify implementation as required 
  • Provide adequate time and resources to facilitate implementation

A key part of this framework is encapsulated in adopting a “whole-school approach,” and the next resource provides tangible information for schools that want to adopt it.

5 Steps to Wellbeing

The 5 Steps to Wellbeing resource from Anna Freud is a practical guide for schools to promote a whole-school approach to positive mental health. The resource is based on a framework which suggests five steps to improve wellbeing: 

  • Leading change: having a school-wide ethos that ensures that wellbeing policies are aligned
  • Working together: including parent and pupil voices when working on wellbeing
  • Understanding need: measuring wellbeing and developing interventions
  • Promoting wellbeing: integrating wellbeing across curriculum and school culture

Supporting staff: surveying, supporting, and training staff on wellbeing

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Source: Anna Freud

The 5 Steps to Wellbeing resource provides examples, tips, and activities for each step, as well as links to further resources and support. It can also help schools to identify and address the barriers and challenges that may affect wellbeing, such as stress, anxiety, and isolation.

Classroom Wellbeing Toolkit

The Classroom Wellbeing Toolkit from Anna Freud is a collection of resources and activities for teachers to use in their classrooms to support pupil wellbeing. The toolkit provides guidance on responding to stress, low mood, and anxiety and preventing bullying. Each section contains various resources and activities suitable for different ages, abilities, and contexts.

Source: Anna Freud

The Classroom Wellbeing Toolkit can help teachers integrate wellbeing into their everyday teaching practice by providing them with easy-to-use and engaging resources and activities. It can also help teachers to foster a positive and supportive classroom environment where pupils feel safe, respected, and motivated.

YoungMinds Stress Bucket

The YoungMinds Stress Bucket is a simple and effective tool for helping pupils understand and manage their stress levels. The resource uses the metaphor of a bucket that can fill up with stressors, such as homework, exams, peer pressure, family problems, etc. The resource also introduces the concept of coping strategies, such as relaxation, exercise, hobbies, talking, etc., that can help to empty the bucket and reduce stress.

Source: YoungMinds

The Stress Bucket can help pupils recognise and express their feelings of stress in a visual and interactive way. It can also help pupils practice healthy and positive ways to cope with stress by encouraging them to find what works best for them. YoungMinds provides lots of free tools for pupils of different ages, and this resource is just one example.

Britain Get Talking

The Britain Get Talking is a campaign and a resource that aims to encourage pupils and families to talk more and listen better to improve their mental health and wellbeing. The resource is a simple exercise that asks: “What’s on our minds can be the hardest subject. So what’s on yours?” By filling out a free downloadable booklet, parents and their children can participate in a shared activity that opens the door to improving wellbeing.

Source: Britain Get Talking

Schools can recommend the Britain Get Talking homework exercise to parents who are interested in supporting their child's mental health and wellbeing. It can also help schools strengthen their links with families and communities by supporting them to have more meaningful and positive interactions.

What’s Next?

We hope this blog has inspired and guided you on improving pupil wellbeing in your school or trust. If you found this blog useful, it is clear that you are interested in evidence-based approaches to addressing pupil wellbeing. As part of next steps, consider:

  • Investigating the data your school or trust collects on pupil wellbeing and selecting the resources most appropriate based on your needs
  • If your organisation does not yet collect data, learn more about what you could gain by running our Pupil Learning Experience and Wellbeing Survey
  • Reading Pupil Wellbeing in Schools to understand national trends in pupil wellbeing from 2020 to 2023