6 Things Parents Say About 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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How can Ofsted garner a more reliable picture of themselves?

The objective of Ofsted’s study was to provide “Ofsted with robust and timely evidence from parents to inform the development of the organisation’s strategy and priorities.”

I have been evaluating Ofsted’s annual survey of parents for a few years now. This is my evaluation of their 6th report, published April 2021, which sampled of 1,018 parents was used; 916 with school age children and 102 in childcare settings. Yes, you did read that correctly. 1,018 parents.

Given that there are millions of families across England and ~25,000 schools, take what you will from this report. As a research ‘robust’ methodology, it’s important to state that the figures have been weighted and then made representative of all parents in England!

Key findings:

  1. Only 65 per cent believed Ofsted improved standards of education – value for money?
  2. 71% of parents thought that Ofsted reports were a reliable source of information
  3. A meagre 33 per cent (still) believe Ofsted acts independently of government – lots of work to do here!
  4. Location of the provider, followed by the ethos, plus Ofsted’s overall judgement are decisive factors
  5. A weak 26 per cent report completing a Parent View survey for inspections – still no sign of a teacher survey
  6. However, this is some good news, 87 per cent said their child’s school handled COVID-19 well!

There is lots inside the report that I haven’t unpacked, especially on page 23 of the report: Parents choose a school based on its proximity to their home, followed by the ethos and values of the school, and then the Ofsted grade.

I’ll just leave this graphic below and a reference to this academic research.

Ofsted Parent Survey 2021

On another note, I’d be keen to learn how many of the parent surveyed are educators, and why don’t they ask me?

66 per cent of parents (n=665) think Ofsted’s grading system of schools is useful. If only parents were aware that grading is a weak predictor of students’ achievement and wellbeing…


According to the Office for National Statistics, there are over 12.9 million families in England. Their guidance on collecting reliable data –  a practical guide to sampling says “Sampling can provide a valid, defensible methodology but it is important to match the type of sample needed to the type of analysis required.”

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