Advocacy at school

Advocacy at school is a research-based measure from the Tell Them From Me surveys. It is a source of evidence linked to What works best and the School Excellence Framework.

What is it?

Advocacy at school refers to the support received from adults in the school who consistently provide encouragement and who can be turned to for advice.

The Tell Them From Me surveys ask students about their interactions with adults at school to indicate whether they have someone at school who consistently provides encouragement and who can be turned to for advice. The results are reported as the average of students' scores.

School improvement links

School Excellence Framework element What works best theme
Wellbeing Wellbeing

Why is it important?

Although parents and carers play the most vital role in the lives of most children, relationships with non-parental adults begin to develop around adolescence, and these become important relationships for normal development. Research shows that students' relationships with their teachers can positively impact their motivation, effort and academic achievement. Supportive adults at school can play a particularly important role for those students at risk of low achievement.

Evidence base

Beam, M. R., Chen, C., & Greenberger, E. (2002). The nature of adolescents' relationships with their “very important” non-parental adults. American Journal of Community Psychology, 30(2), 305-325.

Farruggia, S. P., Bullen, P., & Davidson, J. (2013). Important non-parental adults as an academic resource for youth. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 33(4), 498-522.

Green, G., Rhodes, J., Hirsch, A. H., Suárez-Orozco, C., & Camic, P. M. (2008). Supportive adult relationships and the academic engagement of Latin American immigrant youth. Journal of School Psychology, 46, 393-412.

Looker, E. D. (1997). In search of credentials: Factors affecting young adults' participation in postsecondary education. The Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 27(2, 3), 1-36.

Tennant, J. E., Demaray, M. K., Malecki, C. K., Terry, M. N., Clary, M., & Elzinga, N. (2015). Students’ ratings of teacher support and academic and social-emotional well-being. School Psychology Quarterly, 30(4), 494-515.

Image: This explainer has been produced in collaboration with The Learning Bar

Explainers of the Tell Them From Me measures have been produced in collaboration with The Learning Bar. The Tell Them From Me measures are provided by, and remain the intellectual property of, The Learning Bar. The explainers can also be found online within the Tell Them From Me portal. Tell Them From Me and TTFM are trademarks of The Learning Bar.


  • Student engagement and wellbeing
  • Tell Them From Me

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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