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Customising a Parent/Carer Survey for Your School

Inspectors form an opinion on “ effectively the school engages with and promotes the confidence of parents, including how well the school gathers, understands and responds to the views of parents (including the use of Parent View data).”

Parent View will always represent a minority response and you will be in a much stronger position if you can demonstrate you have a much broader community view about the school. It is now more important than ever to regularly obtain feedback from your parents.

Inspectors will take into account the results of any past surveys carried out by the school or commissioned by the school.

An important goal in constructing a survey is to construct clear, direct questions using the language that parents will understand. The aim is to create a survey which asks specific questions targeted to the issues you need to answer.

Important Areas to Consider Before Starting

  • What information do you want to obtain from the survey?
    • Responses to Ofsted parent View Questions
    • Responses on Wellbeing and the Learning Experience
    • Information for School Improvement Plan
    • Information on any future plans i.e. Academy, Federation, New School Build, etc
  • How will the information be used and interpreted?
  • Will the surveys need to be translated into different languages?
  • Will the survey be on paper, on-line or a combination of both?
  • What time of the school year to survey parents?
  • How will the surveys be distributed to the parents?
  • How long will parents be given to complete the survey?
  • How regularly to survey parents?
  • How will the survey results be fed back to parents – including any actions to be taken as a result of the findings?

Design and Structure of the Survey or Questions:

  • In general, scales should be balanced. There should be an equal number of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ options – Ofsted Parent View and our standard surveys use the 5 point scale.
  • Write appropriate questions for your parents e.g. questions to early years or infant parents may well differ from secondary school parents.
  • Avoid double negatives or two questions within the same one.
  • Avoid abbreviations and jargon – make your questions easy to understand.
  • Group similar questions together or in the same area of the survey.
  • Ask questions that can be easily interpreted so that the results can be analysed and used.
  • Sometimes it is useful to ask open ended questions such as ‘Suggest an idea for improvement’ or ‘comment on an aspect of our school which you are pleased with’.
  • Avoid open ended questions if you cannot clearly identify their usefulness or if you won’t be able to analyse the answers.
  • Make the survey visually appealing and user-friendly.
  • Proof read the survey before distributing to parents.

Providing Clear Instructions and Explanations

  • State the importance and purpose of the survey.
  • Provide instructions for its completion ie if questions only require 1 answer to be selected and whether to complete one survey for each child in school.
  • Provide a due date for its completion and how to return the survey once completed.

Increasing Response Rate

  • Give parents the option of paper or online or both to ensure you are inclusive.
  • Send out reminders to parents to complete survey- by text, email, letter or web-site. Consider making survey available on parents evenings, report days.
  • Make the survey brief – our standard survey is 38 questions.
  • Make the survey look professional and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Consider whether assistance may be needed to assist parents to complete the survey – i.e. translation assistance.
  • Provide reasonable incentives or rewards if appropriate.

If you would like to use our standard parent survey or would like us to customise a survey for your school please phone us on 0800 788 0444 or email

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