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“There’s More to Schools Than Results” say Parents and Staff

Consultation for performance tables highlights the wide range of attributes that parents value in choosing a school

~ Parents want more information about schools when choosing a school for their child ~

~ Pastoral care, extracurricular activities and knowledge of staff all important in school selection ~

~ Survey of 400 parents and staff provide impetus for alternative performance tables to extend the information they provide ~

A nationwide survey of 400 parents and staff published today shows that academic results and Ofsted reports are by no means the only things parents are interested in when searching for information about a school.

The priorities identified in the survey, conducted by www.schoolperformancetables.org.uk, the new school performance tables which launched in 2014, will now be incorporated into this year’s tables.

The survey showed the following as being particularly important to parents and teachers in looking at a school:

  • Most important are GCSE results, A-level results, Ofsted reports and progress measures including both academic and vocational results.
  • Second most important are pupil happiness, support and the way in which a school manages bullying and poor behaviour.
  • Extracurricular opportunities are important, in particular the range of sports and extracurricular clubs available at a school.
  • Parents also want to know more about a school’s ethos, values and vision.
  • Both parents and teachers believe greater detail on attainment and value added is important and of significant use in choosing a school.
  • Parents also want more information on the staffing at a school and the facilities schools offer.

The school performance tables initiative, launched in August by ASCL, NAHT, the PiXL Club and United Learning is proving extremely popular with schools across the country using it as a way, independent of government, of allowing parents to see how they are performing. Schools upload the exam results that pupils actually receive rather than the first entry results that the DfE publish.

Commenting on the Survey, Jon Coles, Chief Executive of United Learning, said:

“We want these school performance tables to be of genuine use to parents and schools so this survey is very important in telling us what they really want to know. The findings show that exam results and Ofsted inspections are important but by no means give the whole picture of a school.

“Parents are demanding more and we believe they are right to do so. We will now be looking at how best to incorporate these new indicators of a school’s success into our tables.”

“This is good news for schools because they now have a platform for providing parents with a much broader and deeper understanding of what they offer. And parents will be able to find those key facts about local schools in one place when choosing where to send their child.”

Brian Lightman, General Secretary of ASCL, commented:

"These tables represent an important stage towards a school-led, self-improving system. In addition to helping parents and other stakeholders get a much broader picture of school performance, the speed of publication which arises from collaboration between schools will help head teachers and other school leaders assess their own performance much more quickly.”

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of NAHT, said:

“The need for stable, honest measures of school performance has never been more clear. The alternative performance tables show a commitment from schools to transparency and accountability, but also enable them to demonstrate their performance whatever the sudden shifts of government policy. Now is the right time for schools to turn their attention away from the government's ever changing measures and follow their own values for what is right for the students they serve."

Parents and teachers who took part in the Survey explained the rationale of the findings:

“Education is an enabler to the future. Having access to the triangle of success, good/outstanding teaching, facilities and a wide curriculum provides my child with the best possible start to their future.” Kevin Dempsey, Staffordshire, parent at both the Coppice Special School and Haywood Academy

“A school is about educating the whole individual and performance tables should reflect this. By focussing purely on academic performance, parents are being given a one dimensional view.” Phil Jones, teacher at Sponne School in Northants

“As a parent, I think it is important to know what type of extracurricular activities a school offers, as it shows the school’s commitment to getting much more out of their pupils than the day to day schooling that all children have to participate in. These activities are usually free, which also means that some children can get to do activities which they normally wouldn’t get a chance to due to costs.” Miss D Dunmall, parent at Greenshaw High School

“It is very important to know what extracurricular activities a school offers because our children are unique individuals with different talents and interests. I would want to know if a school could encourage those talents whether it be in the arts, music or sports. A school with a wide range of extracurricular activities promotes emotional and physical well- being and instils confidence in our children. Ultimately, it develops a generation of well-rounded young adults.” Mrs Laura Page, Carshalton in Surrey, parent at Greenshaw High School

“The range of extracurricular activities provides an indication of how comprehensively the leadership and management interprets its provision of a broad and balanced curriculum. It can also indicate how well developed the school functions as a community outside lesson times as well as the degree of commitment of staff in providing supervision.” Iain Farrell, London, grandparent, chair of governors and school Inspector at Whitmore High School, Harrow

Following this survey, the tables will be extended to include measures that consider a broader range of academic indicators and much greater details of schools’ extracurricular activities and facilities than are available anywhere else.

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Posted: Apr 29, 2015,
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