To inform our work, parents across England are able to contribute through a range of polls, surveys and grassroots consultations. This evidence is then represented to policy-makers at all levels, so that parents and their views are considered by them, with the potential to directly inform changes to our education system.
When changes are proposed to education policy, either by the government in Westminster or by related organisations like Ofsted and Ofqual, consultations are often published seeking the views of the people most likely to be impacted.
Parentkind regularly responds to consultations, using evidence gathered from parents and carers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
For information on Parentkind’s responses to consultations and news of our impact, please see below.
We responded with evidence from earlier polls showing that parents value clarity and fairness when it comes to the assessments their children take.
We responded with evidence from a poll of 121 parents about their views on contingency arrangements for assessments in summer 2022 should the pandemic cause exams to be cancelled again.
We responded advocating for parental engagement training for teachers, and the use of Parentkind’s Blueprint for Parent-Friendly Schools, to give parents more of a say in the education of their child.
We responded to the exam regulator’s consultation using data from our various exam and coronavirus polls.
We responded to the National Audit Office’s inquiry using data from our members’ annual returns and our annual parent surveys.
We responded to the exam board’s consultation using data from our annual parent surveys.
We responded using data from a survey of 129 parents of students in exam cohorts. We found that teacher assessed grades (TAGs) tended to be favoured, and there was no strong consensus in favour of mandatory exam board papers. See the consultation.
The influential Westminster committee is currently holding an inquiry into home education. In 2020, when schools closed to most pupils, parents had to play a more active role in education, and many welcomed the opportunity. But learning from home was not without its challenges. We had data to present from our coronavirus polls, as well as other research on SEND and exclusion.
We were invited to help the National Audit Office (NAO) in their inquiry, in which they looked for a wide range of stakeholder voices, and we were pleased that they actively wanted to hear parent voice. We were able to supply them with a summary of our findings from our coronavirus polls, including specific issues for parents of children with SEND.
The DfE consulted on changes to the school admissions code. We responded with a parent voice perspective. Choosing and changing schools can be a stressful process for parents, and it is important that they have the information they need, and feel supported.
We sent the NAO a concise response to their inquiry into the value for money of the free school meals scheme in England. We backed up our response with data from our annual parent surveys, which breaks down into demographic areas such as whether or not the parent is eligible for free school meals.
It is important that parent voice is considered when Ofsted submits a provisional report to schools following an inspection. If the school raises a complaint about the inspection, parents should also be able to raise concerns. We submitted a response to this consultation in March 2020 and used research from 73 parents who completed our online survey. See our summary.
Schools previously graded ‘outstanding’ are currently exempt from Ofsted inspection. The DfE’s proposal is that the exemption should be removed. It is our belief that parents are supportive of the removal of the exemption. This is based on previous surveys we have put to parents asking for their views on the new Ofsted inspection framework, which included questions on the rules for exemption, as well as how regularly they would prefer schools to be inspected. We submitted an organisational response. See the government website for more details.
Closed 31st October 2019. Public consultation on the statutory guidance for local authorities on fulfilling their duties in relation to home to school travel and transport for children of compulsory school age.
Closed 20th September 2019. Why does spoken language not have the same status as reading and writing in our education system? The Oracy APPG asks about every aspect of oracy education. Find out more about submitting evidence to the Oracy APPG.
Closed 31st August 2019. The Commission is seeking to change the nature of the debate about education in schools in England. To do this it will explore global best practice today in order to develop a practical vision for how the education system can enable today’s children to flourish as citizens of an unknowable future. Find out more about the Commission at its website.
Closed 5th April 2019. Ofsted seeks your views on our proposals for changes to the education inspection framework from September 2019. Read detail of the consultation: Education inspection framework 2019: inspecting the substance of education.
Parentkind responded to Ofsted’s consultation through a parent-friendly survey, so that representative parent voice was heard. We are pleased that Ofsted invites consultation feedback from parents, however there are several obstacles in place that may have prevented parents from being a large enough part of the conversation. We therefore encouraged individual parents to have their say by providing further resources to make the consultation more accessible to them.
How we responded
Parentkind wrote to Ofsted, because how schools are inspected, and the reports that are published online about each one, are important issues for parents. We all want the reassurance that our children’s schools and quality of teaching will be judged fairly and accurately. Equally, we want to know that Ofsted reports we read when considering a potential school for our child provides us with all of the information we need to help make an informed judgement about its suitability.
To ensure that we reflected genuine parent voice in our response to Ofsted, we created a survey for parents and invited responses. The answers offered by 316 parents influenced and provided evidence for our submission.
Overall, we found that there is currently a level of dissatisfaction among the parent community about how Ofsted meets its needs and expectations. See the full details about survey results here.
What was the outcome?
You have probably heard that the way Ofsted inspects schools is changing from September, after they invited feedback on their fresh ideas. We’re delighted to see that 605 individual parents/carers took the time to have their say and respond to the consultation directly. On top of that, you may have taken our survey so that we could respond on behalf of parents and provide Ofsted with tangible evidence of what parents think. It was by far the most responses Ofsted has ever received, which goes to show how important school inspections are to parents, teachers and other education professionals.
Some things are staying the same, but there are a few key changes to the way Ofsted operates that parents will want to know about. Read more about the key highlights of the Ofsted changes here.