Case studies

Awarding bodies

One of the UK’s big four awarding bodies needed an in-depth review of their provision of sample assessment materials. This is a complex subject in a sophisticated, high stakes market – teachers really know what they want and are critical of any failings. For any awarding body, customer recruitment and retention are vital, in a competitive market, where schools are unforgiving of failure. The consultation was required during the early stages of Covid-19 lockdown as schools were closing and then partially re-opening. However, we achieved 600 applications to take part in a 40-minute written interview, designed to give scale, via 200 responses, and depth via a range of open-ended questions. Participants were briefed via webinar before taking part. We received the research brief mid-March and delivered the 40-page report mid-April, giving clear guidance on what teachers needed and expected from the awarding body and gave clear recommendations concerning some ideas suggested by the client.


Another of the big four ABs at around the same time as above, wanted to hear from teachers about their view of examiner reports – documents which give schools feedback on last years’ exams. We conducted 30 telephone interviews with the Schoolzone panel’s heads of department and teachers, having first sent them example extracts from a range of publications taken from each of the four ABs. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed and a final report gave suggestions about how the clients’ different report types could be rationalised and improved to both reduce costs and provide a better service for schools.


A third awarding body wanted to check the usefulness of its maths support resources for schools as part of an urgent review. Schoolzone were commissioned to conduct a survey among our community who were already using this awarding body. Maths teachers are typically among the least responsive, but we achieved over 250 responses overnight, exceeding the client’s expectations. Again, we were able to provide conclusions and recommendations based on valid data, in a less than a week.


An international awarding body conducted a series of projects via Schoolzone’s international panel in order to test new markets. These included:

  • A survey and 34 online or telephone interviews with subject leaders, school leaders and owners in UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Pakistan and India.
  • A series of 30 telephone interviews with teachers of business or psychology in Egypt, Qatar and Jordan.
  • A managed discussion forum with teachers across a range of subjects in international schools in The Middle East, South East Asia, and China and a survey.
  • Three online focus groups across seven time zones with teachers in 14 different countries and 30 computer-aided telephone interviews.

Full reports on each of these projects built up over the course of 18 months to provide the client with a comprehensive picture of the market they were moving into and informed their strategic planning.