Parents ignore league tables when choosing a school for their children

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

Only 29 per cent of parents actually look at the league tables when choosing where to send their child to school, a survey has found.

Furthermore, only 21 per cent said that a school's league table position was important to them when choosing an institution.

The study of 1,019 UK parents, commissioned by the NASUWT, asked parents to list the activities they undertook before choosing a school and also the most important factors in making their decision.In terms of the activities undertaken, 54 per cent of the respondents said they looked online for information about the school, while 53 per cent talked to parents of children already attending the school.

Forty-nine per cent read the school's latest inspection report,39 per cent talked to teachers working at the institution, and 29 per cent talked to senior management.

The survey discovered that location is the most important factor, with 67 per cent of the parents prioritising this when it comes to choosing a school.

Having a supportive staff body was ranked second most important (54 per cent), followed by the type of curriculum offered (41 per cent), the latest inspection report (39 per cent), and the school's reputation for dealing with bullying and behaviour (38 per cent).

Lower down the list of priorities were the school's buildings and facilities, setting by ability and extra-curricular activities. League table position was ranked 8th most important.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: "It remains the case that for the majority of parents the locality of a school is a key factor, supporting the NASUWT's long-argued view that what every parent wants is access to a good local school. 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."

Elsewhere in the survey, parents said that feeling safe and secure (89 per cent), enjoying their time at school (77 per cent), and developing a good character (76 per cent) were among their hopes for their child's time at school. Only 62 per cent said "good grades" were the priority. The survey also found that 87 per cent of the parents are "satisfied or very satisfied" with the quality of their child's teachers.

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