Information

Senior phase: headteacher survey

A report on the findings from an online survey of secondary school headteachers exploring their perspectives of implementing Senior Phase of Curriculum for Excellence.


Methodology

This section outlines the methodology for the Scottish Government Senior Phase headteacher survey as well as information on the representativeness of the survey responses.

Survey Design and dissemination

The purpose of the survey was to provide up to date information on the perspectives of headteachers in implementing Senior Phase, and the factors driving curriculum design and innovation. The survey (Appendix 1) was therefore designed to focus on:

  • Experiences of leading the design and implementation of Senior Phase (Section 1)
  • Senior Phase curriculum model and approaches (Section 2)
  • Planning the transition from Broad General Education (BGE) to the Senior Phase (Section 3)
  • Participation of young people, as well as engagement with parents/carers (Section 4)
  • Partnerships and collaborations (Section 5)
  • Measuring the impact of Senior Phase (Section 6)
  • Priorities for developing Senior Phase (Section 7)

The final list of schools that the survey was sent out to was based on the Scottish Government's 'Address and contact details from Openings and Closings exercise, June 2018[1]'. This list included all primary and secondary schools in Scotland, as well as Centre type (e.g. local authority, grant-aided, and independent). The list of schools was filtered to get a total target population for the survey (357) by:

  • Secondary schools (including all-through schools) and
  • Local authority funded only

The survey period was 31 May to 28 June 2019. A total of 191 surveys were returned. Of these, a total of 159 (45%) headteacher responses were used for the analysis in this report. A total of 24 blank responses[2] and six duplicate responses[3] were removed, as well as responses from two schools outside the scope of the survey[4].

The qualitative analysis of open-text responses was carried out using the software NVivo which allows the identification and analysis of key themes. Where appropriate, the number and percentage of respondents who mentioned a particular theme or view were quantified. This report includes a description of the main themes and patterns that emerged from the qualitative analysis.

Representativeness of the sample

Table 1, Table 2 and Table 3 below provide a profile of the survey respondents by school characteristics. To explore the extent to which the surveyed schools are representative of all secondary schools in Scotland, schools are described by the proportion of young people in each school who live in 20% most deprived datazones in Scotland; the 6 Fold Urban / Rural measure; and by school size. These tables include the following information:

  • Number of schools in Scotland (all LAs): This indicates the total number of secondary schools in Scotland across all local authorities that are funded by local authorities (ie not grant funded or independent schools), by each of the characteristics considered
  • Number of schools in sample (all LAs): This indicates the total number of secondary school headteachers that responded to the survey (excluding the blank responses and duplicates), by each of the characteristics considered
  • % of schools in Scotland: This indicates the proportion of secondary schools in Scotland for each of the characteristics considered
  • % of schools that responded: This indicates the proportion of schools in the sample for each of the characteristics considered

These tables indicate that the profile of the response sample by each characteristic shows only marginal differences from the profile of all the schools in Scotland that fell within the scope of the survey. This, together with the 45% response rate, suggests that we can draw out general conclusions from the findings. However, it is important to note that the distribution of surveyed schools does not reflect distribution at local authority level.

Table 1: Profile of survey respondents by proportion of young people living in most deprived datazones (based on SIMD)

SIMD - Proportion of young people who live in 20% most deprived datazones in Scotland Number of schools in Scotland (all LAs) Number of schools in sample (all LAs) % of schools in Scotland % of schools that responded
0 - <25% 205 91 57.4% 57.2%
25 - <50% 88 35 24.6% 22.0%
50 - <75% 26 15 7.3% 9.4%
75 - 100% 15 7 4.2% 4.4%
* 22 11 6.2% 6.9%
n/a 1 0 0.3% 0.0%
Total 357 159

Notes: * Data for schools where there are <5 pupils have been replaced by a * to protect personal information. N/A applies to one school which has no pupils on the roll. Data is based on SIMD 2016. Pupils whose address cannot be matched to a SIMD data zone have not been included.

Table 2: Profile of survey respondents by Urban / Rural classification

6 fold Urban / Rural Measure Number of schools in Scotland (all LAs) Number of Schools in sample (all LAs) % of schools in Scotland % of schools that responded
Large urban areas 94 46 26.3% 28.9%
Other urban areas 137 61 38.4% 38.4%
Accessible small towns 32 15 9.0% 9.4%
Remote small towns 26 10 7.3% 6.3%
Accessible rural areas 19 8 5.3% 5.0%
Remote rural areas 49 19 13.7% 11.9%
Total 357 159    
Notes: Location is grouped into six and eight categories based on the size of the population the school is in. The 6 categories are:
  • Large urban areas (settlements with population greater than 125,000)
  • Other urban (settlements with population between 10,000 and 124,999)
  • Accessible small town (settlements with population between 3,000 and 9,999 and within 30 minutes drive of a settlement with a population of 10,000 or more)
  • Remote small town (settlements with population between 3,000 and 9,999 and more than 30 minutes drive from a settlement with a population of 10,000 or more)
  • Accessible rural (areas with a population of less than 3,000 and within 30 minutes drive of a settlement with a population of 10,00 or more)
  • Remote rural (areas with a population of less than 3,000 and more than 30 minutes drive from a settlement with a population of 10,00 or more)

Table 3: Profile of survey respondents by pupil roll

Pupil roll Number of schools in Scotland (all LAs) Number of Schools in sample (all LAs) % schools in Scotland % schools that responded
1,200 and over 49 22 14% 14%
1,000-1,199 59 32 17% 20%
800-999 77 37 22% 23%
600-799 75 34 21% 21%
500-599 25 10 7% 6%
400-499 17 8 5% 5%
300-399 19 6 5% 4%
200-299 9 4 3% 3%
100-199 13 3 4% 2%
50-99 5 2 1% 1%
under 50 9 1 3% 1%
Total 357 159    
Notes:
  • Pupil rolls based on Pupil Census 2018

This report

The analysis below presents aggregate findings for both the closed, multiple choice and Likert scale questions, as well as the questions which had an open text box for responses. It is important to note that some survey questions asked headteachers to select more than one option, so totals may not add up to 100%. Base sizes reported in tables and graphs refer to the number of headteachers responding to a specific question and are therefore not always the same as the reported population / sub-group.

A full list of survey questions in provided in Appendix 1 and tabular survey results by school characteristics are provided in the supporting documents.

Contact

Email: socialresearch@gov.scot

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