Work Matters: Parents have a say

A systematic means of gathering feedback from parents shows satisfaction with childcare provision. Karen Faux reports.

The first batch of responses to a Ceeda parent survey by research agency RSUK into childcare provision highlights how satisfaction levels are generally high, although some parents would welcome more feedback on their child's daily activities and greater flexibility of care.

The survey comes in the form of a questionnaire pack which nurseries distribute to parents themselves. Parents then respond either by freepost, online or by telephone to RSUK, with results available to providers via a password on the Ceeda link.

The survey aims to boost overall practice and assist with Ofsted self-evaluation.

Jo Verrill, managing director of RSUK, says 'While effective partnerships are built on day-to-day interactions, it is important to ensure that a systematic approach is taken to assessing parents' views on the quality of care on a regular basis. This is where the survey is proving a useful tool.'

The need to provide a means of independent feedback was emphasised by the fact that 37 per cent of parents so far taking part in the survey chose to do so anonymously.

Detailed feedback is collected on four core themes: providing a safe and secure environment, providing caring and learning, keeping parents in touch and involved, and the timing and flexibility of care. Several questions are asked within each theme and combined to produce overall ratings for the theme.

Levels of satisfaction are high, with three out of the four key themes having a sector average of nine or above; timing and flexibility of care has a slightly lower average of 8.83 out of ten.

A total 93 per cent of parents say they would recommend their childcare provider to another parent, and 91 per cent said they would rate their provider overall as eight out of ten or higher.

However, some parents are disappointed with certain aspects of provision, giving ratings of less than seven out of ten for timing and flexibility of care (12 per cent), keeping parents in touch and involved (6 per cent), caring and learning (2 per cent) and providing a safe and secure environment (3 per cent).

When it comes to feedback on their child's day, 9 per cent of parents thought this could be better. The same number also wanted to see extended opening hours, while 5 per cent thought nursery food was not as good as it could be. More than 50 per cent of those polled believed that their child gained confidence by attending nursery.

Ceeda is now a strategic partner of the National Day Nurseries Association and is working with it to produce useful market research. It aims to collect feedback from over 50,000 parents by April 2010 and will be providing regular updates.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Free access to up-to-date snapshots of parent opinions are available on the updated website. Trials have just begun with childminders and a limited number of free trials are still available. Contact Jo Verrill on 0845 6800631. www.ceeda.co.uk

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