PASS Survey at CODA

Mr. R Meehan, Assistant Head at the City of Derby Academy (CODA), talked to the Emotionally Health Schools team about the implementation, benefits and practicalities of using the PASS survey at the School for the first time.

CODA has over the last academic year implemented the PASS survey as a part of a larger suite of GL assessments to help "measure aspects of life at school that weren't otherwise measured". Targeted specifically at years 7 - 10 to avoid disruption to year 11 exams, students were given up to 20 minutes to fill in the survey one form-group at a time after being briefed by their teacher about the survey's purpose. Mr Meehan indicated that the cost of the survey had been covered by the Pupil Premium funding received by the School.

The results of the survey are broken down into multiple levels across a number of different demographics such as school year, gender and nationality and are then graded through a traffic light system. Once completed, the results were then shared with all staff at CODA, not just teaching staff. Mr Meehan emphasized that he felt it was important for all staff to see the schools position to really embed a whole school approach and awareness to its pupil's mental and emotional health.

The results of the survey allowed CODA to see both the areas of strength and the areas of improvement across the entire picture of the school, with most of the results coming out as Green highlighting the good work undertaken by the school already. The survey was then embedded with existing support structures in the school - those pupils who came out Amber were passed to CODA's pupil-led 'Wellbeing Ambassador' team, and those that came out as Red were passed to the schools 'Pastoral team' for 1-to-1 interventions.

While it was useful for CODA to see the breakdown in that way, Mr Meehan warned schools to consider the total numbers of students in any given group before acting. If there are only a handful of students in a given category, can the results in that category be considered as statistically significant? Mr Meehan indicated that where an issue was identified in a smaller cohort by the survey, individual results were given greater weight to gain a fuller understanding.

When asked what he felt the limitations to the survey were, Mr Meehan outlined firstly that there was no indication in the results of how long pupils had taken to fill in the survey. Mr Meehan questioned the accuracy of the answers given by a pupil that may rushed through and completed the survey in 5 or so minutes, although because of this missing information it was impossible to tell. Mr Meehan also raised an issue regarding pupil comprehension of the survey questions, although this was mitigated by a clear and concise briefing by the form-tutor at the start of the exercise.

When asked if he would recommend the survey to other schools in Derby City that might be considering it, Mr Meehan indicated that it is a useful tool, it was worth doing but any school that is considering it should do so more than once in order to see the 'distance traveled' and improvements year-to-year.


The Pass Survey is appropriate for use in both Primary and Secondary schools, If you would like to read more about the Pass Survey, click here.

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