Frequently asked questions

Q1: What is Parent View?

A: Parent View is an on-line questionnaire and is the main source for gathering parents’ and carers' views about a school when it is inspected.  When parents and carers are notified of the school’s inspection, they have an opportunity to contribute their views through a short set of questions.

Parent View also gives parents and carers the chance to tell Ofsted about their child’s school at any other time. 

Q2: Why do we want the views of parents and carers?

A: Inspectors weigh the views of parents and carers alongside first-hand evidence gathered during an inspection when coming to a view about the overall effectiveness of a school. 

Parents’ and carers' views are also used to assist Ofsted in making decisions about which schools to inspect and when.

Q3: Why do parents and carers have to register to use Parent View?

A: The Parent View website requires each respondent to enter an email address and a password before completing a questionnaire to ensure the security of the website. Other security measures are also in place to identify abuse.

If a person fills in the questionnaire for the same school more than once using the same email address, their previous entry is overwritten. Therefore, Parent View only holds one completed questionnaire from each email address for a specific school in any school year. 

Q4: How do parents and carers and others sign up to Parent View?

A: To register and complete a submission on the Parent View website, users must initially enter an email address and confirm that they are a parent or carer. They then have to follow simple on-screen instructions before completing registration. An email is then sent to the specified email address with a link to validate and activate the log-in. On verification, users then select a secure password for their account. These measures are in place to prevent site misuse.

Users who are not parents or carers (for example headteachers, governors or other interested parties) are able to register on the site and receive alerts when submissions are added to schools, but they are not able to complete a submission for a school; the functionality is only available to parents and carers.

Q5: Can parents and carers complete the Parent View questionnaire for all types of schools?

A: The questionnaire can be completed for the following types of school: 

 • all maintained schools and academies and some non-maintained special schools

 • independent schools (that are not members of associations). These schools are inspected by Ofsted at the request of the Department for Education; (association schools are inspected by approved independent inspectorates).

There are five additional questions for all schools that have boarding or residential provision (including non-maintained special schools with residential provision). The additional questions invite parents and carers to give their views about the school’s boarding or residential provision. 

Q6: How can I search for a school on Parent View?

A: To search for a school, visitors should click on the Parent View results icon at the top of the Home page. Visitors can then type in the name of the school and any part of the school’s address (street, city or postcode) in the search boxes, and then select the correct school shown from the results. 

Q7: When can parents and carers give their views to Ofsted?

A: Parents and carers are notified when their child’s school is due to be inspected.  The notification includes an invitation to complete a questionnaire on Parent View.

Parents and carers are also able to complete a questionnaire about the school/s that their child or children attend at any time during the school year. If they submit another questionnaire at a later time in the school year then their previous submission will be replaced if they use the same email address. 

Q8: What happens if parents or carers want to change the views they previously submitted on Parent View?

A: Parents and carers can update their views on Parent View at any time by logging on and responding again to the set questions. If a parent or carer updates their responses for a school more than once in an academic year, the previous results will be overwritten so that only one ‘view’ for each parent or carer, per school, is held.

Q9: Can parents and carers give views about more than one school?

A: Yes, when a parent or carer registers they are asked how many different schools their children attend. Parents can register and give their views for up to nine different schools. 

Q10: Can more than one parent or carer complete the questionnaire for their child?

A: Yes, if a child has more than one parent or carer each one can complete the questionnaire. Each parent or carer must use a different email address. This provides for the possibility that parents and carers may hold different perspectives about a school.

Q11: What happens if a child changes school during the year?

A: If parents and carers have already completed a questionnaire for their child’s previous school they should add the new school to their profile page. This allows parents and carers to give their views about a new school.

Q12: How does Ofsted ensure that responses to Parent View remain anonymous?

A: All submissions remain anonymous. Schools do not have access to any information that can be used to identify a respondent. Ofsted’s inspection teams do not receive any personal information – inspectors only view the overall data for a particular school. 

Q13: What information can parents and carers give to Ofsted?

A: Parent View asks parents and carers to give their views on 12 aspects of their child’s school, ranging from the quality of teaching, to how well the school deals with bullying and poor behaviour. The topics have been chosen to reflect what parents and carers tell us are the most important issues for them, and includes areas which experience tells us may be indicators of concern. Parents and carers are able to give their views using a four point scale, from strongly agree to strongly disagree. 

Q14: Can parents and carers write free text?

A: Parent View can accept free text comments during the period of inspection of a school, starting from the time an inspection has been announced to a school. This enables parents and carers to provide additional information about their responses to the previous ‘closed’ questions. There is a maximum limit in the free text comment box of 1000 characters. Comments can be given up until noon on the final day of the inspection. Free text comments will not be published on the site.

When parents and carers are notified about an inspection, the notification letter explains how to submit written comments. 

Q15: What happens if parents and carers have a safeguarding concern about a school? 

A: Ofsted does not investigate safeguarding concerns about schools. The Parent View pages explain that if parents and carers have a safeguarding concern they should make a referral through the Local Authority Designated Officer. 

Q16: What happens if parents/carers want to make a complaint about a school? 

A: Parent View is not a mechanism for making complaints or sharing individual concerns about a school with Ofsted. It does not replace the current arrangements for raising a complaint or notifying the appropriate body regarding concerns about the safety or well-being of a child. Ofsted does, however, have powers to consider certain complaints, known as qualifying complaints, about schools. More information about these powers can be found at http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/schools/for-parents-and-carers/how-complain.

Q17: What happens to the information parents and carers provide? 

A: When making their judgements about a school, inspectors take into account the views of parents and carers expressed through Parent View and weigh these against first-hand evidence gathered during the inspection. Inspectors are also likely to talk to some parents and carers during the inspection.  

Parents and carers can also provide written comments or contact and speak directly with an inspector 

Information from Parent View responses may also contribute to Ofsted’s annual risk assessment of a school, to help decide if and when the school should be inspected. The risk assessment process uses a range of information, including performance and attendance data, any concerns raised with Ofsted by local authorities, and any other information Ofsted holds about a school. 

In addition, if during the year the Parent View responses give rise to a significant concern about a school, Ofsted may conduct a review of all the information we hold about the school. The responses from Parent View are taken into account but do not, on their own, trigger an inspection. 

Q18: When are a school’s results available to see on Parent View? 

A: A school’s results will be available on Parent View when we have received a minimum of 10 responses from parents/carers. Data about each school are displayed in percentages and in easy-to-understand graphs. At the end of the academic year the results will be ‘frozen’ for that year and a new set of results will begin. This will allow comparisons to be made between the results for an individual school from one year to another. 

Q19: I could originally see the results for my school on Parent View but I cannot see them anymore – why?

A: From February 2013, following consultations with professional associations and headteachers, we have increased the number of responses needed for results to be publicly available from three to 10. This will show a more balanced picture of parents’/carers’ views for each school. This means that the results for a large number of schools that had at least three responses but less than 10 are no longer visible to the public.

Q20: Are parents and carers able to view the results of an individual school?

A: Yes, results are published in real-time and are available on the website for schools, parents and carers and the general public. However, we do not publish the results until we have a minimum of 10 responses.

Q21: Can parents and carers view the comments made on Parent View?

A: No, the free text comment facility is only avaiable to inspectors during the inspection. The information provided is confidential and is handled in line with Ofsted's retention and disposal policy.

Q22: Can anyone interested in a school be kept informed about the results on Parent View?

A: Those who are not a parent or carer but are interested in Parent View results can register on Parent View as a non-parent or carer. They will not be able to complete a survey about a school but will be able to register for periodic alerts about a particular school(s).

All subscribers will be sent an email alerting them that results for their school(s) of interest have become publicly available. After this point, subscribers can select how often they want to receive on-going alerts about changes to the Parent View responses, for example, every time a new response is added, or daily, weekly or monthly alerts.

Q23: Does Ofsted publish a ‘league table’ of Parent View results?

A: No, we only publish results for individual schools. However, as results are published in real-time it is possible for comparisons to be made by third parties if they wish. We have published submissions received to Parent View in each academic year since 2014/15. 

Q24: How secure is Parent View?

A: We have put in place a range of measures to enhance the security of Parent View, minimise the risk of abuse by individuals or small groups and ensure that all schools are treated fairly. We also have systems in place to alert us to any potential signs of misuse. We have also reiterated to schools our commitment to reviewing, within 24 hours, Parent View results where a school has concerns.

Q25: What questions are parents and carers asked in the Parent View questionnaire?

A: Parents/carers are asked to record their view for the following 12 questions, by stating either ‘strongly agree’, ‘agree’, ‘disagree’, ‘strongly disagree’ or ‘don’t know’:

• My child is happy at this school

• My child feels safe at this school

• My child makes good progress at this school

• My child is well looked after at this school

• My child is taught well at this school

• My child receives appropriate homework for their age

• This school ensures the pupils are well behaved

• This school deals effectively with bullying

• This school is well led and managed

• This school responds well to any concern I raise

• I receive valuable information from the school about my child’s progress

• I would recommend this school to another parent

In addition, if there is boarding or residential provision the following additional five questions are asked:

• My child enjoys boarding/the welfare experience

• My child is warm enough and comfortable in the residential accommodation

• The experience of boarding/welfare helps my child's progress and development

• I can easily contact the staff who care for my child

• Boarding/welfare is well organised and managed effectively

Q26: I have registered with Parent View but have not received the email with a link to complete the registration. 

A: Please check for the email in your ‘junk email’ folder. Email account filter settings can sometimes result in the email being sent directly to the ‘junk email’ folder. 

Q27: What happens if parents and carers want to change their email address? 

A: Once parents and carers have registered, they are able to access their profile page where they can change their email address, password and details of the schools that their children attend.

Q28: Some details about my school are incorrect (e.g. address, telephone number, number of pupils on the roll) – how can I get this information updated?

A: All education provider data on Parent View is supplied directly from Edubase, a Department for Education database. Requests for amendments can be made via helpdesk@edubase.education.gov.uk  

Q29: How can a school contact Ofsted about Parent View? 

A: Enquiries and feedback about Parent View should be sent by email to enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk or call our general enquiries line 0300 123 1231. Ofsted will respond to all enquiries.