The Working Lives of Teachers and Leaders study has been commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) for teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders working in schools in England. The survey is being carried out by IFF Research and IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society.

Read more about each organisation here: Department for Education | IFF Research | UCL IOE

What are the aims and objectives of the research?

The survey explores the views and experiences of teachers and leaders over time. The questions cover a range of areas, from workload 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 allow us to explore changes over time. It is currently planned to run for five years, with the option to extend beyond this. The study is now in its second year.


I took part in this survey last year. Why are you asking me to participate again?

It is the longitudinal nature of this study that makes it so important. We are aiming to collect robust evidence about the experiences of classroom teachers and school leaders in England over an extended period. This will allow us to identify trends that will support DfE in designing policies that better support teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders, and help to shape the future of the teaching profession.


Is this research related to the Early Career Framework or School and College panel research that DfE are carrying out?

You may also receive invitations from DfE asking you to participate in ongoing research specifically related to the Early Career Framework (ECF) or School and College panel survey. These studies are entirely separate surveys and are not linked to this piece of research.


Where/how will the findings be published?

IFF Research will distribute a summary of findings to everyone who takes part in each year of the survey. The first year of this survey was carried out in 2022 and the report from this survey will be published in early 2023.


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

Those selected will be invited to take part in a 20-25 minute survey in January to May of each year. You will initially receive a letter and/or email inviting you to take part, followed by a telephone call if needed (where a 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 removed from the panel.

Teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders not already on the panel from Year 1 are randomly selected from one of DfE’s centralised databases, either the Schools Workforce Census (SWC) or, if an Early Career Teacher (ECT), the DfE Online Teacher CPD Service platform. 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 asked to share?

We may contact schools and ask them to provide a name, job title, work email and work phone number for teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders who have been selected for the survey, so that we can invite them to take part.


What about data protection and GDPR?

The research is being conducted by independent research contractors – IFF and UCL 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 DfE or schools.

Under UK data protection law, participants have the right to request 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 Research team via email at 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 agreement on this website.


Have more questions?