If you are a parent of a school-aged child, chances are you’ve heard about school inspections. If you are in England these are carried out by OFSTED, in Wales it is Estyn and Scotland it is EIS.
These inspection processes are designed to provide information to parents, and to promote improvement and to hold schools to account for the public money they receive. School inspections are required by law. They provide an independent assessment of the quality and standards of education in schools, and check whether pupils are achieving as much as they can.
Inspections have been viewed over the years as something for schools to dread, but really they should be regarded as a positive experience which allows schools to grow and improve to better meet the needs of pupils and their families.
How can you get involved?
As a parent, you will most likely receive a questionnaire via your child’s school from the inspection body. These questionnaires are, these days, usually electronic and anonymous.
In addition to this, there is likely to be an opportunity to meet with the inspectors face-to-face at a parent’s meeting. These often take place near the start of the inspection week. This is your chance to ask any questions or make a comments directly to the inspectors.
Are my views important?
Of course they are! If you are the parent, grandparent or carer of a child or multiple children at the school, then your voice is an important one.
If you feel that there are things that need to change or improve, or equally if you want to highlight something you think has gone particularly well, or something you are grateful for, it’s really important to say.
You have two opportunities to do this, with the questionnaire and meeting. Inspectors want to hear from parents and this information will be fed into the overall assessment and reporting on the school.
Positive and negative feedback from parents are equally important, so don’t be afraid to share your views.