What Are Parents’ Perceptions of OfSTED?

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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Is it true, that parents read and trust OfSTED reports?

The Annual Parents Survey 2017 was published on 12th April 2018 by the Department for Education – the survey was designed to garner parental views of OfSTED. The total number of respondents was 1,128 parents; 1,000 with a school-aged child and 128 with a pre-school-aged child attending childcare. There are some interesting results collated from 1st December and 10th December 2017. This is a summary by Teacher Toolkit.

Key OfSTED Findings

  1. Levels of awareness of Ofsted remain broadly unchanged, with six in ten (60%) parents knowing a lot about Ofsted (down 4% from 2016).
  2. Awareness of Ofsted’s responsibilities for pre-schooling has increased since 2016 (but for schools, has not improved since 2015).
  3. Three quarters of parents feel that Ofsted provides reliable information (however, 25% don’t).
  4. The proportion of parents agreeing that Ofsted provides a reliable measure of a school’s quality has fallen since 2016 (59% vs 66%). The lowest in three years!
  5. The quality of teaching is most commonly ranked first as the most important factor that parents think about when their child is attending a childcare provider, school or college. Amen!
  6. When making a decision [about a school], the proximity to the parent’s home and the Ofsted judgement are the most important factors.
  7. 61 per cent of parents agree that schools shouldn’t be given any notice of inspection.
  8. There is also agreement from over 56% parents that it is more important for schools to be inspected without notice than for parents to be able feed their views into the inspection process.
  9. Only 20 per cent of parents read the full inspection report.
  10. The quality of the teaching, happiness of children and how the school deals with bullying are the most useful pieces of information.

Research Dataset

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I welcome this on-going research being shared in the public domain. Moving forward, rather than reading sound bytes or ‘wordles’ from parents, it would be beneficial to have OfSTED and/or the Department for Education provide a summary at the end of the report with a set of actions for the year ahead. What I find most interesting is this:

OfSTED believe they are reporting in the best interests of parents, but in fact they have no hard data to support this. When I last spoke with a Department for Education representative at the NAHT Accountability Forum meeting, I asked this simple question: “What type of person accesses your information? Surely a simple ‘who are you?’ before entering the website would suffice?” The response? “We don’t collect this information.”

Therefore, we have no idea if OfSTED reports [in their current form] are actually what parents want and if they actually access this information via the DfE website.


You can download the full report here.

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