Parents want more than test results to pick a school

Quality of teaching and reputation are more important to parents than grades, according to new report

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Test results are not the first thing parents look at when choosing a school, a new report by journalist Fiona Millar has revealed.

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Instead, the impression of the quality of teaching and the reputation the school has in its local community are parents’ primary concerns. Nearly all (97%) of parents felt the impression they got of teaching quality was very or somewhat important while only 87% felt the same about test results. This shows that parents are looking to school for more than just grades.

“Parents recognise that while exam results are important, they are just one measure of success,” says Rod Bristow, from learning company Pearson. “The way we currently measure schools is focused heavily around exams, but the message from parents is clear – they also want to include non academic information such as progression, discipline and how their children interact with others.”

Reassuringly, the report found that despite half of parents worrying that they would not be awarded their first choice, 91% reported that in the end their children were able to go to their preferred school.

The report also recommends that schools give parents a fuller picture of how their child is getting on at school, beyond final exam results. This could include regular progress emails or secure sections on websites where parents keep up to date with everything from the school’s overall performance to how individual bad behaviour is managed.

Besides grades, what do you think matters most when choosing a school?

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