‘Few parents check league tables when choosing schools’

The BBC is reporting a NASUWT survey that suggests fewer than a third of parents check league tables when choosing schools for their children…

Instead, more than half (54%) look online for general information, 49% read the latest inspection report and 53% speak to parents of current pupils.

Some 87% of 1,019 parents polled by ComRes for the NASUWT were satisfied with their children’s teachers.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates urged ministers to take note.

The findings come ahead of publication of the annual secondary school league tables in England later this month.

Ms Keates said the survey results showed the majority of parents did not share ministers’ views on “many of the key education policy issues”.

“It is clear that punitive ranking of schools in performance league tables is not something on which the majority of parents rely, and therefore schools, parents and children are subjected to this negative annual ritual unnecessarily.”

More than two-thirds of parents (67%) said a school’s location, easily accessible from home or work, was a crucial factor.

Asked to name the five most important qualities they wanted in a school:

  • 54% listed supportive staff
  • 39% a good inspection report
  • 38% a track record on dealing with bad behaviour and bullying
  • 36% good buildings and facilities
  • 21% good league table position
James Kempton, associate director for education and social policy at the centre-right think tank CentreForum welcomed the fact parents accessed information on school performance from a variety of sources,

“This is a good thing because no single method of assessing how well a school is performing can possibly capture every facet of what that school does,” he said.

CentreForum has argued secondary schools should be judged according to the progress they enable pupils to make.

From 2016 government reforms to league tables in England will encourage secondary schools to focus on pupil progress…

More at: ‘Few parents check league tables when choosing schools’


See also: Nine out of 10 parents think all teachers should be qualified, survey reveals


I’m not quite sure of the logic being used here – the fact that fewer than a third of parents check league tables surely doesn’t in itself prove they are or aren’t important? In fact, I’m quite surprised the figure is that high.

In addition, the quality that comes out as most important – supportive staff – is a wish, not something parents can check or know in advance, so is a bit of a red herring as an option. However, the overall figure of 87% being satisfied with their children’s teachers sounds pretty encouraging – what do you think?


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Ofsted inspections are unreliable and too often based on data, watchdog admits
Nine out of 10 parents think all teachers should be qualified, survey reveals
Categories: Parenting and Teaching.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove a The fact that some do is still a worry. League tables are completely divisive and fail to tell the whole story of a school

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Best way to choose a school is to visit it & talk to students/staff. Ofsted reports are not worth reading either

  3. EllenerLaura

    andylutwyche emmaannhardy SchoolsImprove when they come out it will be fascinating to see Ofsted grades in relation. I predict bonkers

  4. andylutwyche

    EllenerLaura emmaannhardy SchoolsImprove You’re probably right! Ofsted judgements are whimsical, league tables divisive. A poor mix

  5. mjlongstaffe

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove totally agree Andy. You can get a really good idea within the first few mins, often 1st person u meet helps

  6. LaCatholicState

    SchoolsImprove How odd not to check league tables when choosing a schools!….though not reading an Ofsted report is understandable.

  7. PrincesBold

    Really we are an outstanding school, Ofsted don’t agree, but then what do they know? We can’t help it if the recent cohorts have all been a bit thick, we try to avoid it by the use of covert selection but a few still slip through. To improve the school we have replaced more than 50% of the staff each year for the last five years. What’s that? “Data Dashboard” you say… Isn’t it amazing what they can do with cars these days. Of course your child can have a place at our over subscribed school.

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