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As a teacher, as a parent, I’m very aware of the role that Ofsted play in my children’s education.  I’ve been on the receiving end of several “outstanding” inspections as a teacher, and a “good” inspection as a parent.  As a teacher, the result was far more important to me than as a parent I’ll confess – but each time I’ve been keen to know the result and how the inspectors came to their conclusions.

Currently I have one child in school, one in preschool and one at home.

I’m more than delighted with the preschool and seeing my son’s happiness on attending – and his determination never to miss a day – is all that I need.  He’s definitely been learning at preschool – but he’s playing, and that’s the most important aspect to me – he’s enjoying playing; and playing is learning. I wish more people understood that.

My oldest son is six years old and attends our local infant school.  I, like any parent have concerns from time to time – but other than talking things over with the other parents in the school playground [which generally feels quite subversive], or trying to grab five minutes with his lovely teacher, I’ve felt largely powerless.

It’s well known by most parents and carers that when Ofsted arrive on a school’s doorstep, they want to know what parents think – amazing parts of the school, and areas where parents feel there’s a challenge to be met.  There’s the two day timeframe when questionnaires are distributed into book bags and if we’re not too bleary eyed after the school run, getting our children’s homework done, fed, books read, clothes ready for the next day and tried to fit in some quality family time whilst doing our own jobs in the evening, we try to scribble down anything we can remember from the past year’s events at the school that we want to tell the inspectors.  This last inspection, I managed to completely miss my chance – and I thought that was it.

Not so apparently!  I had no idea that for a few years now, Ofsted offers parents and carers or guardians the chance to voice their opinions on the performance of their child’s school via an online questionnaire called Parent View.  Available at https://parentview.ofsted.gov.uk – and once completed, it can be refreshed by the person completing it when necessary, especially prior to an inspection.  So, if you’ve been particularly impressed by your child’s school at some point in the year, it’s simple to log on, record your feelings and then when an inspector arrives at the school, it’s already there for them to consider – particularly in regards to areas like risk assessment.

There are 12 multiple choice questions asked of parents – these are statements to which parents either strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree, or don’t know.  Parents are asked whether the are of the opinion that…

a] My child is happy at school
b] My child feels safe at this school
c] My child makes good progress at this school
d] My child is well looked after at this school
e] My child is taught well at this school
f] My child receives appropriate homework for their age
g] This school makes sure its pupils are well behaved
h] This school deals effectively with bullying
i] This school is well led and managed
j] This school responds well to any concerns I raise
k] I receive valuable information from this school about my child

and lastly,

l] Would you recommend this school to another parent?

When Ofsted have ten parent views, the school will be visible on the website for other parents and prospective parents to peruse – the data is displayed in graphs and percentages and the results are saved at the end of each academic year.

It’s a simpler, time friendly tool for parents to use – I’ll certainly be logging on when the boys are back in class to register my views.  Ofsted needs to hear the positive work that our teachers are doing, not just when we feel a school could be doing more in a particular area, and our opinions as parents and carers or guardians of children should be regularly reviewed.  Share it with your friends, and feel free of the Ofsted parent questionnaire pressure.

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  1. How about a questionnaire that asks my opinion on the effect that Ofsted is having on my school and the stress it causes to teachers and therefore children? And whether it is right to constantly survey and measure teachers on the increasingly narrow criteria that Ofsted sets?

    1. As a teacher I felt the same – and as a parent with a child in year one, even more so. I could not agree with you more. The questions set are very narrow in themselves in only wanting to know what THEY want to know. I feel quite helpless in the educational welfare of my own children – to the point that I'm considering home schooling. My bright, confident boy has had the enthusiasm knocked out of him by cursive handwriting – and comes home complaining he wishes he could still play – at 6 years old.

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