More than half of school leaders are undecided about which political party is best equipped to improve the education system, a new survey has revealed.
The annual State of Education report, from school leadership providers The Key, found 58.2 per cent of headteachers, deputy headteachers and school business managers were undecided about which party could make a difference in education.
The survey of 1,180 leaders, published today, said the message from leaders to politicians was clear – they want less interference from Westminster.
Lord Michael Bichard, non-executive director of The Key, said: “Politicians of all parties have much to do to convince school leaders that they do understand what really drives improvement in schools and they are prepared to take account of research in making decisions.”
Of those surveyed, 20.5 per cent said Labour was best equipped to improve the education system, while only 6.7 per cent said the Conservatives were.
The Lib Dems polled lower than the Greens at 2.5 per cent compared with 2.7 per cent respectively, with 9.3 per cent of school leaders choosing an “other” party.
But the report also revealed – despite the industry’s apparent fierce opposition to former education secretary Michael Gove – that 46.7 per cent of those surveyed
believe the quality of education had improved in the past five years.
A total of 41.3 per cent said it had stayed the same and 12 per cent believed the quality had declined.
Fergal Roche, chief executive of The Key, said: “Our State of Education report includes some deeply concerning figures that should make us collectively sit up, take notice and consider what should happen next as part of a long-term plan for the sector.
“The good news, however, is that the majority of school leaders feel the quality of education has improved and that there is a real thirst in the sector to improve the quality of teaching and learning by drawing on ‘what works’, research and evidence.”
The survey aims to highlight the big issues facing education. Of those surveyed, 82.2 per cent said the most difficult challenge was managing workloads. It was ahead of implementing the removal of national curriculum levels (75.3 per cent), managing teachers’ morale (69.6 per cent) and preparing for Ofsted (63.8 per cent).
The survey also revealed more than half of school leaders (53.8 per cent) plan to leave their role in the next three years.
Mr Roche added: “It’s imperative that whoever comes to power in the coming weeks recognises the need to work collaboratively with school leaders to
address their concerns and empower our schools to provide the best education possible for the children and young people they serve.”