22nd November 2023

Which school groups are most successful and why? | EPI seeks school leaders’ views

EPI seeks school leaders’ views in third wave of DEEP survey

Last year, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) launched a major national survey, the Decisions in Education in England Panel (DEEP) survey, that aims to understand more about the school groups that are leading the way in the school system in England today.

The majority of schools in England today do not work in isolation, but are part of wider groups and networks, such as academy trusts, federations, charitable trusts, dioceses and local authorities.

With the government renewing its ambitions for a fully academised school system, with a strong focus on families of schools and expanding “strong” multi-academy trusts (MATs), there is a growing need to define what makes a strong school group, and to identify which individual school groups are currently most effective in the system.

The anonymous survey and wider EPI study examines school groups’ effectiveness beyond traditional measures such as pupil progress and attainment, also considering their approaches to pupil inclusion, workforce sustainability and financial health.

The EPI DEEP survey aims to improve our understanding of which school groups are most successful and why, by taking on the views of school leaders.

The third wave has now opened and will be available to complete until February 16th 2024.




What does the third wave cover?


In this wave we explore all the themes covered in previous waves:

  • Pupil outcomes,
  • Pupil inclusion,
  • Workforce sustainability, and
  • Financial health
We are particularly interested in responses from school leaders who previously responded to one or both of our first two waves, so we can build up a longitudinal picture.

Who should complete the survey?


If you are a leader of education, whether in a school, trust, local authority, federation or diocese board of education, you can complete the survey.

We particularly want to hear from: headteachers and principals from all types of school, CEOs of academy trusts, Dioceses Board of Education Directors of Education.

For group-level leaders such as CEOs, Executive Headteachers, the survey will take around 10 minutes to complete.

For headteachers and principals – the survey will take around 25 minutes to complete.

If you are a MAT CEO or lead a group of multiple schools, please consider encouraging headteachers in your group to complete the survey: the headteacher survey contains crucial questions around what is currently working well in schools, and which challenges they currently struggle to overcome.


Why should school leaders take part?


  • Inform government policy: the results from the national DEEP survey will play an important role in informing policy decisions made by the Department for Education. From the length of the school week and school funding, to energy bills and the future role of local authorities, the survey will inform several major policies relating to schools in England.
  • Support the sharing of knowledge and best practice: this survey is designed to improve the education sector’s knowledge of what makes an effective school group, through the sharing of different models and best practice. We are depending on school leaders to provide insight into how their schools and trusts operate.

Individual responses will never be made public. More information and the privacy policy can be found here.

If you have any questions on the project or would like any further information, please contact deep.survey@epi.org.uk



 This work is supported by: