Choosing the right school
We asked our panel what factors they would take into consideration when choosing a school for their child to attend. The most important factors according to our panel were location, academic results and the community and ethos that the school embodies.
“You need to consider things like the Ofsted report, where they are in the league tables, what the attendance in the school is like, where the school is placed, the surrounding areas and the pupil intake.” (Rosie, 26, Wolverhampton)
Ofsted and League Tables
For most the schools academic results and Ofsted reports was at the top of the list of important factors when choosing a school to send their child to.
“My first consideration is the quality of the school, it should produce good results for all the students that go there, secondly should be the location and the general environment of the area.” (Raj, 42, Barnet)
“It mainly comes down to checking through league tables and Ofsted reports. You want to make sure that the school is achieving high grades for their pupils.” (Darcy, 19, London)
“First thing we do is check the Ofsted reports, that’s the most important thing for us.” (Claire, 39, Warrington)
“When I chose my kids schools we had a look around them all, probably the most important thing was the Ofsted rating, we did read those and the one that they went to had a good rating.” (Joanna, 41, Manchester)
Others felt that Ofsted was sometimes misleading in their reports and didn’t really reflect the whole school and so would consider more factors that the schools rating.
“It’s not all about Ofsted and league tables, it’s how the children are taught as well and how they behave. If I could afford it I would send a child to a private school only because I believe that they would have a better quality of education.” (Andrew, 54, Manchester)
“I don’t think there’s any one single factor that would influence my decision about school. I think it would be a combination of factors. The Ofsted reports are obviously the first thing that people look at because they are available online and the league tables.” (Dianne, 55, Bexley Heath)
“I don’t attach too much meaning to the Ofsted rating. I’m a teacher myself so I know that you can’t really trust the Ofsted rating at all.” (Ben, 32, Dronfield)
Another important factor when choosing a school was location. Many felt that a school needed to be convenient for their child to get to in order for them to consider it.
“When choosing a school there are two things of significant importance and they are location and reputation.” (Adele, 28, Liverpool)
“For me mainly it’s catchment. I believe that your child should be walked to school and they shouldn’t be spending their time in cars and in traffic.” (Debbie, 39, Sale)
“I think one of the main factors when choosing a school would be location.” (Alexandra, 20, Kingston upon Hull)
Another important factor that was mentioned by many of the panel members was the community around the school.
“For me it’s also about the culture and community that the school promotes…for me it’s important for my daughter to feel safe and to be part of a nice culture and community in the school.” (Ashley, 39, London)
“I think the most important thing would be the schools reputation with people in the area.” (Alexandra, 38, Worthing)
“I would have to factor in things like the community that the school is in. In terms of it being a welcoming and helpful environment and where it is located.” (Damon, 35, London)