State of Education survey report 2016 | Page 2

For this year’s State of Education report, The Key collected the views of more than 2,000 school leaders and governors across the country. While our 2015 survey took a sweeping look at the education landscape, this year we’ve delved deeper into the reality behind some of the headline issues for those leading our schools. How is population growth affecting demand for school places? Is there really a shortage of teachers? Our report attempts to unpick some of the big questions about challenges, concerns and priorities in the sector today. Foreword So, what looms greatest on the minds of school leaders and governors for the year ahead? For many, it’s the school budget and a lack of funding. This is expected to be the biggest challenge on the horizon for nearly a third of schools. It's possible that the proposed national funding formula will help, but budgets are still having to stretch further to accommodate rising costs linked to pay and pensions. 2 On the subject of pupil places, six in 10 school leaders told us their school was oversubscribed but we also found notable undersubscription, with one in five schools receiving fewer applications than they can accommodate. This, too, brings further budget implications. But what about once children arrive at school? We found that in a third of primary schools more than half of new pupils are below the expected level of school-readiness. Why? Lack of social skills, delayed speech and lack of resilience are the most commonly-cited issues. If children are already behind on arrival, the challenge for our teachers is greatly increased. When it comes to classroom teachers, schools are struggling to recruit and retain them but our findings also suggest a more mobile workforce, where teachers are alert to opportunities elsewhere and generally leave their posts to take up jobs at other schools. State of Education Survey 2016 | And what about school leaders themselves? Are they confident in the quality of leadership and teaching in their schools? Yes. And do they expect to be in post in three years’ time? Nearly three-quarters told us that they do. There is no professional sphere that shapes and affects lives quite like education. Despite the challenges they face, almost all school leaders (98%) feel they have a positive impact on the future prospects of children and young people, and six in 10 would recommend their job to others. Governors, too, are happy recommending their role to others, with 88% feeling they make a positive difference to their school. Schools are central to our economy, developing the skills and qualities that individuals, and we as a country, need to be competitive. This report gives a valuable insight into what those at the front line think about the current state of education, and how they think this will develop. For many, the 2016 white paper, published since we conducted our survey, prompts more questions about quality and accountability in our changing school system. As those leading our schools navigate the increasingly complex task they’re entrusted with, let’s make sure that they get a voice to match. That’s why we run our State of Education survey each year, and now it’s time to listen to the findings and ensure we're offering the best possible support to our schools. Fergal Roche, CEO The Key Find further comment at