Ipsos MORI, working with The Key, carried out online surveys of 1,198 school leaders and 1,079 school governors. The research asked about school leaders’ perceptions of morale in the teaching profession and in their own school, and their perceptions of the quality of education, leadership and governance in England’s schools. Surveys were completed in March 2014.
The findings paint a complex picture about morale in the teaching profession: school leaders perceive that morale in the profession generally is low, while stating relatively high levels of satisfaction in their own jobs and readily recommending the profession to those who would suit it.
The findings also highlight school leaders’ dissatisfaction with government: 75% of school leaders said they are dissatisfied with the Government’s performance on education, up from 54% in 2010 and 40% in 2004. Despite dissatisfaction with government, and limited support for some new policy initiatives, school leaders nevertheless perceive that the quality of teaching and education is improving over time. Some 47% of school leaders say the quality of education has improved since 2010. In other Ipsos MORI research, we found that 43% of parents consider that the quality of education has improved over the past 5 years.
Almost all school leaders say their pupils are happy (98%). These figures reflect the priorities that school leaders identify for themselves: of a range of issues which schools might prioritise, leaders generally say they prioritise issues relating to children’s development and well-being rather than academic outcomes. As such, outcomes such as preparing young people for adulthood (69%), and helping young people to have high self-esteem (57%) were stated as a top three priority for their school by far more leaders than ensuring pupils do to well in examinations (17%). Interestingly, leaders of academies gave greater priority to academic outcomes, such as exams, than leaders of other types of school. Academy leaders were also less likely than leaders of other types of school to say their pupils were very happy (59% academy compared with 72%non-academy).