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Understanding primary school leaders’ priorities

The brief

The Pearson Primary UK publishing team have an ongoing need to understand the priorities of senior leadership teams (SLT) in primary schools, including those working in Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs), to inform product development and its overall publishing strategy. 

Pearson commissioned Shift to carry out quantitative and qualitative research with primary SLT to explore the key areas primary schools are focusing on this year and how this has changed from last year – as well as how budgets have changed and how it has impacted curriculum planning, professional development and resource purchases. 

The approach

We used a mixed-method approach, starting with in-depth online interviews. Working closely with the team at Pearson, we conducted 20 interviews with senior leaders in primary schools. Using a carefully designed interview script, we explored the key curriculum areas primary schools are focusing on this year, and how budget changes have impacted resourcing decisions.

The results of this qualitative interview phase informed and complemented a second quantitative phase. 220 SLT and subject co-ordinators responded to a survey to provide a 360-view of key challenges and curriculum priorities.

The value

Our final reports were delivered to the Pearson Primary product team with clear findings and recommendations. We provided Pearson with evidence of how budget constraints – and the impact of the pandemic – were influencing resource choices. From our analysis, it was evident that school leaders are actively seeking cost-effective solutions while prioritising the wellbeing of their staff and students. Flexible and adaptable resources, which can be tailored to the specific needs of individual pupils, were also welcomed.