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Advice - Raising Aspirations Parent Survey

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by sophiesoo94, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. sophiesoo94

    sophiesoo94 New commenter


    As part of my new TLR role this year, I have been tasked with creating a survey for parents asking them to feedback on the school’s effectiveness when it comes to raising aspirations in students.

    As this is a very new role - that was previously G&T and has now opened up to monitoring both the More Able and Disadvantaged - I am at a bit of a loss for the most appropriate questions to ask parents.

    Has anybody done anything similar and would be willing to share their experience? Or does anybody just have some ideas of questions I could include?

    The survey is intended to reflect on both curriculum and enrichment opportunities, with a view to getting parents of Disadvantaged students more engaged in aspirational opportunities (uni talks, etc.)

    Thank you in advance!
  2. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Massive brief. Questionnaires notoriously hard to get right ? I hope you don't share the label of ' disadvantaged ' ( hardly v sensitive ) with the parents - your target audience. I worked with a group of parents once whose children were SEND and we were looking at improving our provision and increasing engagement . I wrote it up as a casestudy and had it published. Lots of things came out of the sessions with parents ( with very specific agendas ) which impacted on curriculum / homework / information on progress @ whole school level .It took a lot of experience and skill to handle ! Slightly different to your thinking but we had ' criteria ' re approaching parents . Perhaps this is where you need to start ? The whole enrichment thing can be open to interpretation ? You need to be careful you don't alienate the parents you are trying to support ? You need to see in advance what you expect as a result of your actions ? It could turn into an 'exercise ' ? ! Happy to share with you my experience if you think it would help ? Other colleagues may be of more use . Good Luck
  3. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    I would suggest that a survey may end up with you asking questions which will generate the answers you expect - a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. You might do better with some focus group sessions with some very careful chairing and agenda-setting. Must say I don't envy you this task.
    minnie me likes this.
  4. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Lead commenter

    My suggestion is to not even attempt to do the questionnaire properly. As @minnie me and @Skeoch allude to, collecting meaningful information this way is difficult; a similar role in industry would take a professional researcher months and would cost a fair bit more than a TLR. So I would suggested using a generic parent questionnaire (DfE Parent View) with just one or two different/additional statements - "My child has high ambitions for when they finish school." or "This school helps my child to develop their ambitions for when they leave school". If you're feeling ambitious, you may want to cross-reference the responses of these questions to others from the standard survey (eg. My child is happy at this school) and you might be able to see some patterns. I wouldn't bother though, partly because it would be statistically insignificant, but mainly because I doubt the school really want you to.
    Apologies if these inferences are too cynical, but I think the school just want to be seen to do something to raise the aspirations rather than actually raise them - they're not going to care if Jonny who wanted to be a bus driver now wants to be a surgeon. They want some nice evidence that aspirations have improved. So do a questionnaire to show that only 25% of parents agree with "My child has high ambitions for when they finish school". Then organise some talks / trips, making sure to heavily involve the 75% that didn't agree, (especially if they fit into other foci like being disadvantaged!) and repeat the questionnaire to show that now 50% agree with the statement.
    I'm aware that this is all nonsense and your school may not be the same as mine; your school leaders may genuinely want the improvement rather than the data to show an improvement. However, I can guarantee that they would prefer to have rubbish data that shows that an improvement rather than thoroughly detailed, accurate data that shows the school has had absolutely no impact (or a negative impact) on the students' aspirations.
    minnie me likes this.

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