News

Press release: A new voice for parents

20 Oct 2011

Ref: NR2011-44

Ofsted today launches Parent View, a new online questionnaire that will allow parents and carers to give their views on their child’s school at any time of the year. Covering over 22,000 schools across England, the 12-question survey will help other parents as they make important choices about their child’s education and provide Ofsted with information about schools that will help inform priorities for inspection.

Parent View has been produced with the assistance of a panel of parents who contributed to shaping the questions and the way the site functions. The questionnaire covers a range of topics, including quality of teaching, bullying, behaviour and levels of homework, allowing parents to give a view about their child’s school on each issue, with a final question as to whether or not they would recommend the school to other parents. The questionnaire does not allow free text comments but invites responses to a series of closed questions.

The questions were carefully chosen to cover those issues that parents told Ofsted are the most important to them. They are also designed to provide Ofsted with the information to support decisions about inspection and will give headteachers a direct route into gathering the views of their parent group.

Launching Parent View, Baroness Sally Morgan, Ofsted Chair said:

'Parents know how valuable the insight of other mums and dads can be when making choices about schools. Parent View will provide a comprehensive national platform for gathering this information. Parent View will also give parents and carers in England the opportunity to make their voice heard when it comes to the performance of their child’s school. What parents tell us through these questionnaires will be considered when making decisions about when a school should be inspected.

'Whilst parents’ views alone cannot trigger an inspection, they will provide a vital piece of the jigsaw. I hope everyone with an interest in education will welcome this innovation and that parents around the country will use Parent View to make their views count.'

The results for each school will be published on the website in real time. They will then be saved at the end of the academic year so that every school will have an ongoing year-on-year picture available to view.

Ofsted will monitor the results for each school and where concerns become clear these will be assessed by Her Majesty’s Inspectors. The findings will form one element of the risk assessment Ofsted undertakes to decide, for example whether an outstanding school’s performance appears to have declined and therefore the school needs to be inspected. They will also be part of the information that inspectors consider in preparation for any routine school inspection.

Taking on board feedback from Ofsted’s parents’ panel and concerns from schools, a balance of measures, including a registration process with password, have been put in place to help ensure the security of the website and to treat schools fairly, while making sure it is accessible for parents to use. Systems are also in place to flag potential signs of misuse and appropriate action will be taken where this is clear. Headteachers will be able to report concerns to Ofsted if they fear that Parent View has been misused.

'We have had to strike a balance in making sure that the site is accessible and easy for parents to use, and ensuring that any abuse is limited and can be spotted,' said Sally Morgan. 'We have listened to parents in coming up with what I think is a sensible starting point which will enable us to keep this issue under review as parents start using the site.'

Parents will be asked to give their view on the following 12 questions, from strongly agree through to strongly disagree:

  • My child is happy at this school
  • My child feels safe at this school
  • My child makes good progress at this school
  • My child is well looked after at this school
  • My child is taught well at this school
  • My child receives appropriate homework for their age
  • This school ensures the pupils are well behaved
  • This school deals effectively with bullying
  • This school is well led and managed
  • This school responds well to any concern I raise
  • I receive valuable information from the school about my child’s progress
  • I would recommend this school to another parent

The questionnaire is accessible at www.parentview.ofsted.gov.uk.

Notes to editors

1. The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children's social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.

2. The Parent View website will be available at www.parentview.ofsted.gov.uk.

3. All schools that are subject to inspection under section 5 of the Education Act 2005 will be included in Parent View

4. Ofsted is committed to listening to public opinion, and in particular to listening to the experiences and views of users of the services we inspect and regulate. To help us in this, in 2009 we set up a panel of 1,600 parents with children attending state schools, and/or using registered childcare in England, with whom we consult on a regular basis. Most of this consultation is in the form of online questionnaires and over the last year, the panel has been involved in a variety of consultations including Parent View.

5. Media can contact the Ofsted Press Office through 020 7421 5911 or via Ofsted's enquiry line 0300 1231231 between 8.30am - 6.00pm Monday - Friday. Out of these hours, during evenings and weekends, the duty press officer can be reached on 07919 057359

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