4:00 pm

TEP launch event: The Missing Puzzle Piece?

Event overview

In October we officially launched TEP at our first online event spotlighting new research from Professor John Jerrim based on TEP pilot data and first-hand experience of using TEP from two trust and school leaders, Katy Bradford (Outwood Grange Academies Trust) and Toby Sutherland (St Clement Danes).

We examined the key question, is employee engagement the missing piece of the puzzle for the UK education system. How can the data improve our understanding of what matters at a system, Trust, and school level? Is it a key lever to pull to address the current recruitment and retention crisis?

We were pleased to welcome attendees from across the sector, school leaders, central trust teams, sector support services to researchers and journalists. This will be the first of many events examining data insights from TEP and sharing as much as we can to support the sector and school leaders.

TEP pilot data research: The importance of your team buying into your strategy - Professor John Jerrim

John talked through his latest research paper finding and the potential of future research using TEP data. You can read the full paper here. The research uses TEP pilot data and examined the link between strategy buy in, retention and overall engagement and found that teachers with a high strategy buy in were more likely to reject outside offers of employment, above and beyond factors such as pay and workload. It’s worth leaders investing time building staff understanding and buy in to their strategy as a key teacher retention strategy.

John also highlighted that the high return rates from TEP provides a rich data set and opens up the doors for high quality research in this area going forwards. As TEP data is collected throughout the school year we’ll be able to look what effects strategy buy in over time, what effect do major events have? Ofsted inspections? Change in leadership? TEP will also be able to provide insights on how retention behaviour match to stated intentions, and how we can use this to predict retention behaviour and flag early to school leaders.

Using TEP data to shape a Multi-Academy Trust people strategy – Katy Bradford

Outwood Grange Academies Trust conducted a TEP baseline in Summer term 2023 and have used the baseline to feed into their trust wide people strategy. The trust went through a significant period of growth and as the organisation got bigger they needed a measure of engagement from both a retention and staff wellbeing standpoint. Katy and the executive team made time at their annual conference to introduce school leaders to TEP, how to understand the baseline data and how to use it as a starting point for their schools ahead of collecting regular TEP data to understand progress over time. The national benchmarking gave them important comparison points.

One pattern they identified from the baseline was the effect of school size, with primaries and smaller schools tending to have higher staff engagement. They may have greater access to leadership on a regular basis and are able to directly communicate with them. The way the scores were broken down into APC scoring helped them to understand the balance between advocates and challengers within school environments. Going forward they are looking forward to embedding TEP insights on a regular basis and inform our recruitment and retention strategy.

“We don’t want to create our policy, and have it sat on a shelf, using this data can help us to review as we go”.  

Embedding use of TEP data in leadership decisions across a school year – Toby Sutherland

St Clement Danes pride themselves on being evidence led, and they were looking for something to help them with their decision making and strategy around probably the single most important driver of outcomes for young people which is their staff. They’ve used other surveys in the past, but they didn’t give them the credibility or reliability go on and take meaningful effective decisions about long term strategy. They signed up to the DfE Wellbeing charter, and part of that was to give managers access to the tools and resources they need to support those they line manage, and they see TEP as key to doingthis.

“TEP has allowed us to build up an accurate picture of trend over time and act in response to changes. Not only is it holding ourselves to account that it's giving the governors and the trust the ability to hold us to account for what's happening with our staff”.

TEP data revealed that their senior leadership team was consistently scoring lower for engagement compared to the national benchmark, bucking the national trend of leaders tending to score significantly higher than their teams. As a result, they did further consultation with their SLT built further capacity for their leadership team, creating two additional associate assistant head roles and adding additional admin capacity.

Importantly, TEP can also supported Toby and the team to avoid making mistakes and making pre-emptive decisions based on a limited data.

“I was on the verge of taking quite an expensive decision about what we were going to do there with our part time staff. But we had this opportunity to split the results in terms of part time and full time and then look at what that showed in the next following two surveys. And we did that. And, what it proved was there was no difference between where part time staff and full-time staff were in terms of their thoughts on our CPD offer”.

TEP gave Toby and the leadership team the employee engagement data to support effective decision making, take the time to consult staff before making decisions and ensured that big changes were made based on the evidence.

“TEP is a massive part of what we now do as a school”.

Thank you!

A big thank you to John, Katy and Toby for their time and contributions to this first event from TEP – their reflections were invaluable and provided excellent insight on what employee engagement data can do for the sector. This will be the first event of many and we look forward to welcoming you next time!

You can access the full recording by following the link above and direct any questions to hello@tep.uk.

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