25th April 2022

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

EPI seeks school leaders’ views in new DEEP survey


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The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has 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 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.



What does the survey cover?

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 survey will provide a detailed picture of what decisions, actions and policies are being implemented in schools.

This survey information from school leaders will then be linked with a quantitative strand of the project: a raft of measures developed by EPI which can be used to identify the school groups which are the most effective across the board.

Taken together, these two strands will enable a thorough understanding of the key features of effective school groups.

There will be two DEEP surveys open to school leaders in 2022:

  • April 2022: Workforce sustainability and financial health – over the summer term.
  • Autumn term 2022: Pupil outcomes and inclusion – survey opening on 7th November 2022


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, local authority Assistant Directors of Education or Children’s Services, Dioceses Board of Education Directors of Education.

For group-level leaders such as CEOs, Executive Headteachers, and LA leaders, 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.


The second  of the two DEEP surveys, on pupil outcomes and inclusion, will open on the 7th November 2022, and will be available through the current autumn term.




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