Ofsted & the Parent View questionnaire

(54 Posts)
Saladserver Tue 18-Mar-14 10:12:32

Our school is being ofsted inspected at the moment, and we've been asked to fill out the online questionnaire with our views of the school, or speak to the inspectors in person at school.

There are 12 online Q's and for each one you answer strongly agree / agree / disagree / strongly disagree / don't know.

I love our school, yes its not perfect and yes there are a few things that have mildly irritated me over the course of the last few years, but overall I think the teachers do a bloody good job, the head is a good manager and I want the school to do well and be highly regarded, as I believe it should be.

I completed the questionnaire as honestly as I could. I've been reviewing the results as they come in (shows you how many people have completed the questionnaire and what the results are as a % of agree / disagree etc).

It doesn't take a statistician to work out that one parent has answered 'strongly disagree' to every single answer and then said 'no, I would not recommend this school to somebody else' at the end.

This parent obviously has an axe to grind about something (I can't believe they strongly disagree about EVERYTHING!), and it upsets me that someone is willing to complete a questionnaire in such a way.

There is always the cliques of mums in the playground having a moan about something or other, or reckoning they could manage the school better than the head etc. I know we are all overprotective of our kids, but I take the view that teachers have trained at university and have real life of experience of teaching & schools so we'd all be better off not slagging them off in the playground and letting them get on with doing their jobs.

So my question is, how much attention do ofsted really pay to the results of the parentview questionnaire? Particularly when one parent has answered in such an obviously negative and across the board way?

WorriedMouse Tue 18-Mar-14 10:19:33

I think (but not totally sure) that there has to be a reasonable number of parents completing the questionnaire for it to be taken seriously. Also, they will be able to see exactly what you have. Our school got good despite quite a number of parents answering strongly disagree. What they observe in school probably carries more weight.

Martorana Tue 18-Mar-14 10:22:39

OFSTED aren't daft. They know that people have axes to grind.

I was involved with a school where a small clique "strongly disagreed" with everything. OFSTED mentioned in the report "a small minority of parents sad X- however we saw not evidence...and in fact saw evidence that...."

Clutterbugsmum Tue 18-Mar-14 10:25:52

I agree Martorana, the ofsted before last they spoke to parents in the playground and one parent said everything about the school was sh*t. He just ask them if it was really so bad why did they not move their child. They had no answer.

Dinosaursareextinct Tue 18-Mar-14 10:26:37

On our questionnaire several people had said there were bullying issues. Ofsted mentioned that and immediately dismissed the concern. It was a real concern for people, and I thought Otsted just dismissing it like that undermined the feedback system.

ReallyTired Tue 18-Mar-14 10:31:22

OFSTED only take any notice if at least 10% of parents respond to a questionaire. My children's school had 75 parents and 30% of parents said that they would not recommend the school. there is a difference between one parent having an axe to grind and 22 parents being angry.
My daughter's school is shit and thankfully OFSTED completely agreed with the parents.

"He just ask them if it was really so bad why did they not move their child. They had no answer."

It is not always easy to move your child when there is such a squeeze on places. It is harder when there are sibblings.

Saladserver Tue 18-Mar-14 10:34:31

Thanks for the responses - I too wonder why this one parent hasn't moved their child if they're so unhappy with the school. I'm glad to hear that Ofsted do consider the questionnaire & look into the issues raised, but make their own conclusions that aren't purely based on a few disgruntled parents.

Interestingly, the one question about bullying 'does the school deal effectively with bullying' has the highest number of 'don't know' answers (plus the one 'strongly disagree' answer from said axe-grinding parent'!), which I take to mean that parents 'don't know' because they haven't come across any bullying within the school.

wineoclocktimeyet Tue 18-Mar-14 10:36:43

The % of parents that actually answer the questionnaire is something that OFSTED are interested in, a low % tends to indicate that parents dont feel included in the school.

Saladserver Tue 18-Mar-14 10:41:07

really tired yes I completely agree with you - if a significant % of parents are all saying the same thing, then I can see that Ofsted really need to take notice of what is being said.

But at the moment, for our school, you can clearly see that one parent has just said 'completely disagree' for everything, and it annoys me that somebody feels the need to be so outright obvious and negative on the questionnaire. It is currently an Ofsted 'good' school, has a good reputation, and people travel across our town to send their kids there. It just frustrates me that one parent can't see that their child is in a good school with good teachers and good management.....and perhaps the problem is with the parent's attitude and not the school?! Grrrr confused

ReallyTired Tue 18-Mar-14 10:41:16

My children have never experienced bullying and I would tick the "don't know" box. The problem is the OFSTED question. If there had been box "Child never been bullied" then I would tick that.

MillyMollyMama Tue 18-Mar-14 10:43:09

I have given negative feedback on a few issues about my DDs junior school and, in those days, Ofsted had a meeting with parents too. I found out I was far from alone in my views and Ofsted agreed with us. I was a governor of another school at the time and was very much aware of the stark differences between our school and where I was a governor. The main issue was poor management. The progress the school made after the inspection was far better and action was taken to improve the school. If just a few people record strongly disagree with everything, the Inspectors will probably consider these views but if their evidence does not support the negative comments then they will say so. Also, these parental questionnaires are pretty blunt tools and do not really give parents an opportunity to discuss good or less good aspects in any detail. When inspectors held meetings, there was a far more effective discussion of any issues, good or bad.

Saladserver Tue 18-Mar-14 10:44:11

Yes i have to confess - it is abit of a guided questionnaire, you can't leave comments or expand on any answers. I guess you need to personally speak to the inspectors if you want to say anything more that the questionnaire lets you say.

Thats interesting wineoclock - our % rate is only 11% of parents responding to the questionnaire at the moment...but then its only 1st morning of inspection....will wait and see how it develops.

Procrastinating Tue 18-Mar-14 10:44:31

That is interesting wineoclock, my son's school was inspected recently and I didn't complete the questionnaire because even after 2 years I don't know what goes on there. I'm glad OFSTED take this into account.

tiggytape Tue 18-Mar-14 11:08:34

It will be obvious that it is just 1 parent who has skewed the results. As more peopel answer that result will be diluted by all the others. It will be obvious what has happened to Ofsted and to other people too who look at the survey results online (they are on the Ofsted site for anyone to see).

The schools I would worry about are the ones where the criticism seems much fairer eg a school that gets everyone saying they agree their child feels safe at school but have one third of parents saying they disagree the school communicates well.
At those schools, you can tell that the parents aren't just being vindictive. They have given positive responses to some questions but very negative responses to others and therefore this will sound alarm bells more than 1 parent who just answers 'strongly disagree' to everything.

WalkingThePlank Tue 18-Mar-14 11:20:54

OP, why are you so 'upset' that 1 parent disagrees with your viewpoint? Perhaps his/her child has not received an education that matches his/her needs. Perhaps requests for help have gone unanswered. Perhaps their opinions have been dealt with as invalid - which is just what you are doing by the way.

If you can see that it is just 1 parent saying 'Strongly disagree' I would suspect that the Ofsted professionals will be able to suss that out too.

Dinosaursareextinct Tue 18-Mar-14 11:28:50

OP is right that the unhappy parent should have been fair in their appraisal - so not just said that every single thing was terrible. But parent view is almost useless, as hardly any parents fill it in.

Dinosaursareextinct Tue 18-Mar-14 11:31:39

NB I don't have much faith in Ofsted since our school's last inspection. I filled in and handed in their questionnaire, which was quite negative on some aspects as there are some real problems. In their report Ofsted said that "prior to X date we did not receive any negative questionnaires". X date being the date on which I handed in my questionnaire, which they completely ignored.

Dinosaursareextinct Tue 18-Mar-14 11:33:58

I've just attempted to use Parentview on a school I'm interested in. There are 250 children and only one Parentview response, which it won't allow me to view (I think you need to have around 20 responses). So a complete waste of time.

Martorana Tue 18-Mar-14 11:34:28

"That is interesting wineoclock, my son's school was inspected recently and I didn't complete the questionnaire because even after 2 years I don't know what goes on there. I'm glad OFSTED take this into account."

What do you mean, you don't know what goes on there? Surely you know if your child feels safe, if communication is good, if your child is progressing.............

Saladserver Tue 18-Mar-14 11:36:17

Walkingtheplant - I do appreciate what you're saying, but I find it very hard to believe that a parent could find absolutely EVERYTHING wrong with a school - ok, perhaps a child is being bullied and its not being dealt with appropriately, but it doesn't then mean that the school is not teaching the child well, the management is poor, the child is not progressing well AND the child doesn't receive appropriate homework (just using the ofsted Q's as examples). A school would need to be pretty awful to be disastrous at EVERYTHING (and ours is definitely not that school, as evidenced by the survey results so far).

I guess it just really annoys me that a parent has simply answered strongly disagree to absolutely everything because, more than likely, there is one thing that they have genuine issues with, but they've decided that they hate the school overall. They're surely shooting themselves in the foot by appearing as though they have an axe to grind when, like you say, they could have a genuine issue that isnt being addressed by the school. Simply answering 'strongly disagree' to everything smacks petty, childish and immature in my mind.

Saladserver Tue 18-Mar-14 11:38:17

Dinosaur - yes the school needs a certain number of responses before you can view the results.

firstchoice Tue 18-Mar-14 11:47:27

well, my children go to a school which has 'everything wrong with it' and I would tick 'strongly disagree' to all the boxes I expect and I am not 'petty, childish and immature' I am just bloody frustrated and would wish to communicate that formally - just a pity the form is skewed in its presentation (esp re bullying) and gives little opportunity to expand and give examples.
<and breathes>

(can I point out that the inspectors have returned annually for the last 3 years and find the delivery of the entire curriculum to be 'poor' before you think I am a frothing loon? Oh, and house on market now...)

Perhaps your school is generally good but that parent has an experience you do not know of (like her dc's SEN not being met, then being patronised and ignored by the school to the extent she finds everything about her child's and her experience of the school to be poor?)

OFSTED will see if there is a poor response to the questionnaire which is very telling. They will also see if 'only one' responder skews the results.

It is all window dressing by OFSTED anyway - they have their own agenda.

Saladserver Tue 18-Mar-14 11:58:35

Sorry to hear about your children's school Firstchoice, I am aware that some places can be terrible, I just know that ours isn't.

I had no idea that Ofsted are just 'window dressing' and 'have their own agenda'. Sounds sinister...

Martorana Tue 18-Mar-14 12:02:54

"It is all window dressing by OFSTED anyway - they have their own agenda."

Say more?

Saladserver Tue 18-Mar-14 12:08:58

Yes, I can't understand what Ofsted's agenda would be, other than to inspect schools and report on their inspections?!

Gosh, you've got to be in a pretty cynical place to believe that Ofsted are 'window dressing' and up to no good!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now