The Working Lives of Teachers survey has been commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) for teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders working in schools in England. The administration of the survey has been contracted to IFF Research and the Institute of Education (IoE), part of the University of London.

Read more about each organisation here: Department for Education | IFF Research | Institute of Education

What are the aims and objectives of the research?

As a longitudinal study, the survey will explore trends in the education sector over time. The questions will cover a range of areas, from teachers’ workloads and pupil behaviour to school culture and leadership, career reflections and future ambitions. Those who take part will be helping DfE to design policies that better support teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders.

The survey is longitudinal by design which will facilitate exploration of sector trends over time. It is currently planned to run for five years, with the option to extend beyond this.


Is this study related to the initial teacher training market review?

No. There is no connection between this and the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Market Review.

The ITT Market Review was an independent review led by Ian Bauckham, CBE and CEO of Tenax Trust, to consider how to ensure high standards in ITT are achieved on a consistent basis. Following a consultation on the recommendations, the Government will publish a response later this year. More information can be found here.


Where / how will the findings be published?

IFF will distribute a summary of findings to everyone who takes part in each survey. Additionally, we will be publishing an annual findings report which will be available online following each wave.


What does taking part involve? Can teachers / leaders opt in?

Those selected will be invited to take part in a c20 minute survey in the Spring of each year. They will initially receive a letter and/or email, followed by a telephone call if needed (where their telephone number is available). Those who leave the profession between survey years will be followed up in the next survey year – to find out more about their change of career – and then retired from the panel.

Teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders are randomly selected from one of DfE’s centralised databases, either the Schools Workforce Census (SWC) or the Database of Trainee Teachers and Providers (DTTP). We are unfortunately unable to collect responses from anyone outside of this selection, as records will be drawn to ensure a representative cross-section of teachers in England.


Is participation compulsory? What if teachers / leaders want to take part in the first year but are undecided about future years?

Participants are not obliged to take part every year, although the expectation is that they will as it is the longitudinal nature of this study that makes it so important.


What contact information are schools / HEIs / other training providers asked to share?

In the first survey year we are asking schools / training providers to share emails and/or telephone numbers from selected teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders, under strict adherence to data protection and GDPR guidelines. In subsequent years, only those who consent to recontact will be invited to take part again. We will use the contact information individuals provide at the end of the survey for this purpose, instead of seeking this information from training providers again. Nevertheless, we may ask schools / training providers to supply sample/contact information for much smaller top up exercises per year.


What about data protection and GDPR?

The research is being conducted by independent survey partners – IFF and IoE – in strict accordance with the Market Research Society Code of Conduct. Any information provided through the survey will be handled securely and in line with the UK Data Protection Act and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In order to protect anonymity and abide by data protection regulation, we will not be disclosing who has/has not taken part. Additionally, all data will be analysed anonymously (i.e. without any names or contact information attached). This will ensure that individual staff, schools and local authorities will NOT be identifiable in any reporting nor in any data provided to the DfE, Schools, HEIs or other training providers.

Under UK data protection law, participants will have the right to have a copy of their data, to change their data, or withdraw from the research at any time. Anyone who wishes to do this can contact a member of the IFF team on workinglivesofteachersandleaders@iffresearch.com.


What does 'data linking' mean? And what will it involve?

To ensure that survey responses can be fully understood and explored, your survey responses will be linked to information about you which the Department for Education (DfE) already holds, or which it is lawfully permitted access (for example data may be linked to Get Information About Schools (GIAS) and to School Workforce Census). Despite this, your survey responses will remain entirely confidential at all times, with data linking completed by IFF via an anonymous identifier. Furthermore, analysis will not be broken down by individual teachers or schools, so neither individuals nor schools will be identifiable from the analysis and reporting.

For more information about how data is collected, used and stored, you can read the privacy notice and data sharing agreements for schools and HEIs.


Have more questions?

You can contact IFF on workinglivesofteachersandleaders@iffresearch.com, or DfE on workinglives.teachers-leaders@education.gov.uk.