Ofsted ratings not key to how parents pick schools, finds survey

A TES and Mumsnet survey has found that the most important factors for parents when choosing a school for their child were the school's approach to education and how supportive the school was to its students

Irena Barker

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Only a tiny minority of parents say that Ofsted ratings were the most important factor when choosing their child’s school, a survey of more than 1,000 parents carried out by TES and Mumsnet has found.

For parents choosing a primary school, the most important factor was how “warm, friendly and supportive” it was, cited by 40 per cent of parents. At secondary, the school’s approach to education was top of the list of considerations, cited by 20 per cent of respondents.

At primary, just 4 per cent said “Ofsted rating” was the most important consideration; at secondary that figure dropped to 2 per cent. 

Meanwhile, asked whether they would remove their child from a school that was downgraded by Ofsted, 77 per cent said they would not. But of the 23 per cent that said they would, 5 per cent said they would do so if the school went from 'Outstanding' to 'Good'. 

Ann Mroz, digital publishing director and TES editor, said: “This survey’s findings are fascinating and give us a very real insight into the way parents choose schools – and it shows that basically what parents want is a warm school, with caring and engaged teachers who want to look after and educate their children. Teachers and heads will be pleased to hear that.

“But we should never ignore the influence of Ofsted throughout the system and its influence on local reputations.”

To read the full article – with eight pages of in-depth data relating to how parents picks schools along with expert analysis – read the 27 May edition of TES. This week's TES magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition and read the full article, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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Irena Barker

Irena Barker is a freelance journalist.

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