Majority of parents believe their child’s school has handled Covid-19 well

Katy Morton
Thursday, May 20, 2021

Nearly nine out of 10 parents think their child’s school has handled the pandemic well, according to results from Ofsted’s annual Parents Survey for 2021.

Most parents in the Ofsted survey believe their school has handled the pandemic well PHOTO Cath Gaunt
Most parents in the Ofsted survey believe their school has handled the pandemic well PHOTO Cath Gaunt

More than 1,000 parents with children at pre-school, school and colleges in England responded to the survey, carried out between 9 and 26 March.

Those who reported feeling well informed about what their children are learning were most likely to say the school has handed the pandemic well.

Seven in ten respondents said they had received guidance or training to help support remote learning. Parents of primary school children were more likely to state this.

However, two-thirds reported being concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on their child’s learning loss. Parents were also concerned about the impact on their child’s mental and physical health.

Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman said, ‘This survey highlights just how much parents appreciate the huge effort and creativity schools have shown to help them educate their children at home.

‘Of course, there was only so much children were able to learn while schools were closed for lockdown, so it’s not surprising that so many parents are concerned about the impact of the pandemic on their child’s education, as well as their mental and physical wellbeing. Our visits and inspections have also reflected these concerns. 

‘But now children are back in the classroom, I know teachers across the country will be doing all they can to bring them up to speed and help them to flourish.’

Awareness and perceptions of Ofsted

Findings from the survey show that awareness of the inspectorate remains high with nine in ten parents reporting they know at least a little about Ofsted.

The majority of respondents said they believe the information in reports is reliable. Of those who feel that the information is unreliable, the most cited reasons for this is that the provider acts differently during Ofsted inspections and that inspections are too short to be meaningful.

Three in five parents agree that Ofsted is a ‘valuable’ source of information about childcare locally, a decline since last year.

Choosing a provider

According to the survey, parents of nursery and school-aged children, visiting the setting, whether in person or virtually, is their main source of information when deciding where to send their child, followed by Ofsted reports.

Proximity of a provider is the decisive factor in the final choice, followed by a provider’s ethos and Ofsted judgement. Ethos was more important for pre-school parents, while parents of school-age children were more likely to cite the latest exam or test results or breadth of subjects.

The survey also found:

  • 84 per cent of parents of school-age children are aware of their school’s most recent Ofsted rating.
  • 83 per cent of school-age children and 87 per cent of pre-school children found the Ofsted report they read useful.
  • The majority of parents who read an inspection felt it portrayed an accurate picture of the school or childcare provider.
  • Two-thirds of parents agree that Ofsted’s work helps to improve standards of education.

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