The Edurio Staff Wellbeing and Working Conditions Survey at Brook Learning Trust
In the first year of Edurio’s Staff Retention project, Brook Learning Trust (BLT) ran the Staff Wellbeing and Working Conditions Survey in two of its three academies.
What convinced the team at BLT to participate in the first year of a brand new research project?
We asked Education Director Nicola Taylor. Her answer:
‘’Working with an external partner on important research that serves a bigger purpose... The schools who participated in the Edurio survey were able to benefit from additional rigour in the design and application of the survey as well as the quality of feedback and analysis received following its completion.’’
More than 15,000 school staff members across the country have responded to the survey, making this the biggest independent research into staff retention in England and providing a rich source of feedback specifically focused on the issue. Thanks to these 15K+ responses, Edurio has been able to build a national benchmark, helping school leaders better understand results by providing them with more context.
‘’We had actually really underestimated the power of external benchmarking,’’ Nicola told us. The Edurio results dashboard allowed them to look at their results as a whole and compared between the two schools, but also alongside the national benchmarks. Beyond that, the Trust team were able to sit down with Janis, from the Edurio team, and look at their results compared to similar academies across the country. ‘’By offering a greater level of national context to the results, the information elicited from the survey was much richer and enabled the Trust to focus in on actionable improvements.’’
Some results that at first glance seemed disappointing were right on par with the national average, or in some cases, well above average.
Take the following question on leadership: ‘’How often do the school leadership consult you before making decisions that will affect you?’’ 39% of respondents answered positively with ‘Always’ or ‘Often’ — definitely room for improvement, especially regarding such an important topic.
But now take a look at those same results with national averages marked in purple:
Seems that most schools are in the same boat. Brook Learning Trust has quite strong results, in fact, compared to the national average.
But how exactly does that benchmark help?
Well, we know that staff retention in schools is a national problem. It is a challenge facing most, if not all, schools and trusts. So for starters, the benchmark (we hope) can serve as a way to bring school leaders together to talk about solutions and share what works.
Solutions must be school-specific and, as we saw in our report on the first 10,000 responses, retention is very much a school-by-school issue. However, looking at results alongside national averages can help school leaders better understand where their unique weaknesses can truly be found. And at the same time - it can show them where they are really excelling, allowing them to reinforce and expand upon positive policies and behaviours.
As far as working on solutions goes, Brook Learning Trust has already jumped into action, focusing on a few key areas of improvement they identified after analysing results.
- Flexible Working. The Trust has brought their flexible working policy more in line with national guidelines and they have already seen an increase in people applying for it. It’s allowing people to see that teaching is a profession that does have a degree of flexibility that can benefit the organisation as well as the individual.
- Staff Wellbeing. While staff already had access to an employee assistance programme, survey results showed that people weren’t as aware as they could be. They have made a change in how they communicate about it – through a new HR-focused bulletin going out to all staff at all three schools directly from the trust.
Edurio is excited to continue working with the team at Brook Learning Trust this year - as well as welcoming their third school to the project!
The Edurio Staff Wellbeing and Working Conditions Survey was designed with the support of researchers at University College London Institute of Education and the research project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 SME programme for open and disruptive innovation under grant agreement №733984.