Ofsted have recently launched Parent View, a website where parents and carers can complete an online questionnaire about their child’s school.
The idea is that by sharing views, parents and carers will be helping their child’s school to improve and contribute to decisions about which schools should be inspected and when. However, parents views alone will not trigger an inspection though their online views will be available to inspectors alongside the paper-based questionnaire that is given out at OFSTED inspection times.
The questionnaire is compiled of the following 12 statements:
- 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 makes sure its pupils are well behaved
- This school deals effectively with bullying
- This school is well led and managed
- This school responds well to any concerns I raise
- I receive valuable information from the school about my child’s progress
- Would you recommend this school to another parent?
For questions 1 to 11, you have to answer either Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree or Strongly Disagree. For question 12 you have to answer Yes or No.
Before you answer these questions you have to register you name and email which is not passed on to the school.
Results will remain anonymous and will not be published until each school reaches 3 responses.
Mechanisms have been put in place to prevent misuse. You will be unable to make multiple entries and if you do complete the questionnaire more than once for any school from the same email address, the previous entry will be deleted. The site is also protected from automated form filling by a captcha code that asks you to read two words from the screen and type them into a box.
Parent view is not designed for a parent or carer to lodge a complaint about a school or to deal with individual cases – parents have to follow the guidelines on the complaints page.
For further queries please take a look at Frequently Asked Questions.
My personal reflection as a parent
I very much welcome greater collaboration and communication between schools and parents so I was pleased to see this development. As a member of a parents forum, I am very aware that the relationship between teachers and parents can be a difficult one. Many parents are unsure about how to approach school or the Board of Governors with what are often legitimate concerns. There are also the additional problems with the traditional paper based questionnaires with few parents and carers returning questionnaires to school and the OFSTED inspectors.
I was therefore keen to try out this new system.
After using this service, I found it a lot more efficient than completing the hand questionnaires given out at OFSTED inspection time. I also felt more confident of this system as the level of anonymity appeared greater. I personally never liked the haphazard way of completing hand questionnaires and passing them through my children or the school secretaries to the inspectors. With the online version I felt more reassured that my form had got through.
Nevertheless I was disappointed that there was NO MENTION of SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS or DISABILITY and no space for additional comments. This concerns me for various reasons.
As a parent of a SEN child my answers will be influenced by how my child’s special educational needs and/or disability are handled by the school. Without any opportunity to comment on these matters, then how can issues relating to disability and SEN be picked up by OFSTED?
As I have experienced, there are schools with exceptional OFSTED inspections who are known locally to ‘fail’ disabled and SEN pupils. Conversely there are schools with less good OFSTED inspections who are known locally to be better for disabled and SEN children. (Here, I am referring particularly to mainstream schools who teach children with and without SEN and/or disability.) Clearly there is an issue of concern here with regard to the reliability of OFSTED with regard to SEN and disability with some schools.
But aside from this concern, there is the equally important issue of including and respresenting SEN and disability. Families such as mine want to participate and want to feel included in the school system. We want to feel that our views on SEN and disability count and that we can also contribute to improving our schools.
In that regard, at least give us an opportunity to comment on SEN and disability within the new online quesitonnaire please.