Cardiff Metropolitan University
Dr Stuart Scott - PhD Thesis - Jan 2024.pdf (3.43 MB)

The Development of a Strategic Intervention Framework to Reduce Work-Related Stress Among Headteachers in Wales

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posted on 2024-02-01, 10:06 authored by Stuart Scott

Work-related stress remains the leading cause of sickness absence and ill health among the education sector in the UK. The aim of this study was to explore the headteachers’ of Wales own experiences and perceptions of the prevalence, sources, and solutions to work-related stress.

Using explanatory sequential mixed methods, data was collected in two phases, firstly the prevalence, sources and solutions to work-related stress among headteachers was explored in an online survey sent to all 1588 headteachers in Wales. A total of 359 (22.6%) headteachers completed the survey with two-thirds of participants reporting levels of stress that were considered as ‘high’. Pressures of managing greater demands and increasing workload with fewer financial resources and a lack of support from local authorities were the main sources of stress reported. Solutions focused on improved funding to enhance staffing and resources at a school level, reduced accountability, and improved support. The findings were collated and a draft framework document consisting of nine intervention themes was created.

To consider the feasibility of implementing nine interventions themes in practice, the second phase of the research involved interviews with twenty-nine senior educationalists from a national, regional, local, and school level. As the study period included the COVID-19 pandemic stakeholders’ opinions of the additional impact of the pandemic were also explored. The findings of the interviews were then used to construct an evidence based strategic framework to inform the future development of interventions for reducing work-related stress among headteachers in Wales.

The framework describes a multi-faceted, multi-level, intervention approach, extending beyond improving personal resilience and individual school improvements, into regional and national opportunities for change.



  • School of Sport and Health Sciences

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year


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