Senior leaders love statistics! Don’t I know it? Whenever I put good statistics into a presentation, I always get great feedback. Course delegates really rate my analysis of why parents choose schools. The research is freely available to the public – but very few decision-makers seem to have read it. You can find it on the website of a little-known organisation called Research and Information on State Education (RISE). “What parents think of schools”, by Caroline Roberts, summarises what is currently known about what parents think of their children’s school. It reviews the most recent quantitative and qualitative research.
Key points and conclusions are:
-Despite the emphasis placed on academic results by policy makers, the research contains much evidence to suggest that they are not as important to most parents as is often assumed. Parents frequently say that they value factors such as good discipline, the happiness of their child and good communication between school and home more than exam results.
-Ease of communication with the school and the provision of clear, accessible and regular information about their child’s progress is a priority for many parents. A shift towards parents wanting more regular updates electronically is evident in recent surveys. Opportunities for informal, face to face communication are welcomed, particularly among parents of primary school children.