Relational Schools Foundation Partners with Cambridge Assessment

Relational Schools Foundation has partnered with Cambridge Assessment, using its CPSQ behavioural styles assessment on a research project they are undertaking with the Suffolk & Norfolk SCITT – one of England’s largest initial teacher training programmes. The five-year research study, which began in September 2017, will follow a cohort of over 100 primary and secondary school teachers, from their training year through to their fourth year as qualified teachers.

The Cambridge Personal Styles Questionnaire®(CPSQ) assesses a range of personal styles of behaviour that support workplace competencies relevant to caring and teaching professions. These competencies include the ability to work well with others, use person-centred communication and manage workload.

The aim of the study is to explore the impact of social and professional relationships on early-career teachers’ success with the CPSQ assessments complimenting the work undertaken by the team at Relational Schools to measure the social and relational capital of teachers. The ultimate aim is to understand what makes teachers remain in the profession, helping to improve teacher retention and success in the longer term.

Dr Rob Loe, RSF’s Director of Research, explains: “Relationships of particular interest are those between a trainee and their mentor, and what we might term a teacher’s ‘relational nexus’; the quality of the relationships they have with those around them in their supportive network. This includes those professionals they are most aligned with in their places of work, and other key relationships. Using our Relational Proximity Framework, which identifies how well two people are likely to engage with the thinking, emotions and behaviour of the other, we will looking closely at the impact of a teacher’s ‘closeness’ to their professional tutors, other trainees, family and friends, on their career resilience and performance.”

RSF is using CPSQ to provide key additional insight into how each teacher approaches tasks and relates to others. These behavioural styles have been found to contribute to work effectiveness and resilience, adding another layer to the study.

In the first year of the study, the researchers will be using CPSQ profiles retrospectively, to build a picture of the participants and link this to teacher retention rates. From year two of the study, CPSQ will be used in additional ways, as a guide for coaching and mentoring once the participants are in their job roles.

Lyn Dale, Assessment Psychologist in the Admissions Testing team, said: “Factors such as resilience and good self-management are highly important in work environments, including in teaching. The use of CPSQ as part of this study will show how the participants’ behavioural styles influence their career resilience and performance, as well as providing a way to monitor the teachers’ personal development.”

This is ground-breaking work, which will see Dr Loe and his team at RSF supported by Dr Alison Fox in the theory and practice of educational networks. Currently Senior Lecturer in Education at the Open University, Dr Fox is engaged as an informal advisor to the study. She comments: “It is very exciting to see elements of my research into educational networks applied in this practical context. We know that social networks are important for learning, and that they can be intentionally created and managed to improve outcomes. This particular application feels very promising, and couldn’t come at a more important time.”

Read more about the project on Cambridge Assessment's website.

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