Annual Parent Survey 2017

Detail of the infographic for the PTA UK Parent Survey 2017 Funding ReportOur annual Parent Survey provides a snapshot of parents' views about a range of issues relating to their child's education and school life.

Our Parent Survey 2017 is the third consecutive year that we have canvassed the opinion of a wide sample of over 1,500 parents who have a child currently attending a state school. Our respondents are independent of our PTA membership base.

The large scale of the survey offers a significant and unique insight into what parents – key stakeholders in education – truly think about their child’s schooling.

Our first set of data relates to school funding as we know this is an important issue for parents. We will soon release our findings on the other key education topics that formed part of our survey, including:

  • how involved parents wish to be in school life
  • what makes for a parent-friendly school, and
  • how their child’s school is tackling social mobility.

Part one - School Funding


Download the full infographic

From previous surveys, we know that in recent times, schools have been looking at measures to save costs and make their budgets go further. We also know that more and more parents have been asked to make voluntary monthly contributions to the school fund, and that the numbers doing so are increasing. This is in spite of rising parental concern about the cost of their child attending school. 

Our research provides significant insight into key school funding issues such as:

  • The proportion of parents who think the cost of educating their child is increasing, as well as the number concerned by those costs
  • The main financial concerns parents have in paying for their child's schooling
  • The proportion of parents approached by school for a voluntary financial contribution, as well as the number subsequently making regular donations
  • The amount parents are willing to donate to their child's school
  • The percentage of donating parents who know how the school uses their financial contribution
  • The measures proposed or implemented by schools to cut costs, and which ones parents most strongly support.

Key findings

As the infographics and the detailed report show, it's possible to draw some key conclusions about parents' views on school funding, including that:

  • Parents are increasingly concerned about the cost of sending a child to school
  • Parents are donating to their school fund in greater numbers, but with strong regional variations between their willingness to contribute as well as the amount they are willing to provide
  • Parents and schools favour different cost-cutting measures, but with some agreement
  • There is a clear top three in terms of the cost implications that concern parents the most.

About the research

The survey was conducted online by Research Now. Respondents were recruited through Research Now’s UK panel and took part in the survey between 20th August - 11th September 2017.  It involved a sample of 1,507 parents from England (1,205), Northern Ireland (99) and Wales (203) who have at least one child aged 5-18 attending state school representative of the parent population by gender, age, social grade. 

The subsamples in Wales and Northern Ireland were boosted to achieve a large enough base of respondents to compare findings across the three regions (England, Northern Ireland and Wales).