Quite simply, Parent View is a wasted opportunity.
Firstly, it asks questions that parents are largely unqualified to answer, and questions that cannot be quantified as part of a group survey as the responses are purely individual and no means of common measurement are provided.
Consider these questions from Parent View to which parents are asked to respond on a 5 point scale from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree:
3. ‘My child makes good progress at this school’
5. ‘My child is well taught at this school’
6. ‘My child receives appropriate homework at this school’
9. ‘This school is well led and managed’,
11. ‘I receive valuable information from the school about my child’s progress’
On what are parents supposed to base their opinion, especially as they may only have experience of one school?
Ofsted should know this already. Our study showed that in 83% of those schools found to be ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, parents had said that the teaching was at least ‘Good’ or better!
The question ‘My child receives appropriate homework at this school’ has always been one that the most illustrious professors of education could debate for a year and a day without reaching a conclusion, but the announcement by the Secretary of State for Education in March 2012 that schools were going to be given the freedom to determine their own approach to homework made the whole question outdated 9 months before it was published.
Secondly - and as passionate advocates of Parental Engagement you’d expect this from us – Parent View does nothing to promote positive relationships between parent and school, or school and parent. Schools should listen to parents – even those who have gripes. But as other pages in this website point out, it should be done openly without any fear of come-back – or as some parents might see it – retribution.
Parent View should and could be a useful tool to inform school development. Indeed, Ofsted say that this is one of its purposes. Unfortunately, the overall tone of the questionnaire is seen to invite negative responses. It is therefore understandable that school leaders do not like it in its present form and that its negativity is the reason the Ofsted Parents’ Panel gave for not completing it. As long as Parent View appears to invite negativity it has the potential to provide a source of friction and distrust between schools and home. This does nothing to promote the development of Parental Engagement.
Thirdly, Ofsted now expects schools in England to engage with parents “including those who might find working with the school difficult, to achieve positive benefits for pupils.” Although it is relatively easy to introduce measures to ascertain the % of parents completing Parent View who fall into that category, whilst maintaining their anonymity, there is no way of doing so given the current format of Parent View. Ofsted therefore have no way of knowing if the parents responding to Parent View fall into this important target category.