Annual School Survey
This is the 24th year of our annual school survey. Through the survey we seek the views of students across all year groups, parents, support staff and teaching staff. It is conducted anonymously and collated in a form that is then published. Questions have been kept broadly the same to facilitate comparison over time.
All parents were invited to participate and 190 chose to do so, with each year group evenly represented as it turned out. Students were asked to undertake the survey in tutor time or Life Skills lessons. 226 responses were received, with a broadly even spread of students in Years 9-11. The number from Sixth Form was low. Support staff and teachers also completed the survey.
Overall responses are very positive in each group, especially parents.
The survey is extensive and responses are grouped into a smaller number of categories. The survey also includes an opportunity for respondents to make additional comments using free text. The survey generates many comments and these are always interesting and are all carefully read.
For students, we have developed the School Forum as an addition to our existing Student Voice work. The responses from the survey will inform some of the discussion over the coming months at these forums. One Year 9 student made a lovely comment at the most recent forum: “At my old school we had a school council but it never did anything, but here I feel we talk about things that matter and then things actually get done. I felt so good about the Christmas visits we made to the old people’s home and the food we took to the homeless shelter.”
The results in important sections such as Teaching and Learning continue to be encouraging. This year, 80% of student respondents expressed satisfaction with the marking of their work and the feedback they receive. This is well above levels of satisfaction in the years prior to last year and I believe reflects the significant work undertaken in school to improve written feedback. A satisfaction rate with out-of-school opportunities of only 60% is surprising given the extensive and genuinely quite extraordinary programme of enrichment activities, catch-up and revision sessions and trips and visits available to students.
Overall satisfaction with the school remains high (82% of students agree, with only 8% disagreeing; 92% of parents agree, while 2% disagree). 89% of parents state that they would recommend the school to new parents moving into the area which is the lowest rating on this measure for four years: however only 3% disagree, so there are more “don’t knows” this year perhaps reflecting the higher proportion of responses from parents of Year 9 students who may still feel “new” to the school.
I am especially pleased to continue to see such high levels of belief in our school expressed by parents, such as 94% saying their child likes school and 95% again saying they feel welcome at school. On any scale, these are remarkable outcomes that should be a source of real pride for staff as they reflect the success of our work in creating an environment where parent partnership can flourish and students’ learning can be effective.
One section of the survey provides opportunity for free comment. Parents’ comments include:
“The school is outstanding and provides so many opportunities for all pupils.”
“Our son has had a great start at the school. He is enjoying his learning and clearly the school has told him what they expect of him. The additional after-school clubs in maths and science are brilliant for him and we hope they continue.”
“Every aspect of Vandyke is amazing all the way. Thank you.”
“I think the governor newsletter is informative and a great way to keep up to date. It is a great medium to correspond with parents.”
“Vandyke is highly recommended. Great staff and support for children’s learning. My son has improved in all areas and continues to thrive. A few little mishaps perhaps, but teenage children can be difficult. Parents events are friendly and supportive.”
“My daughter has thrived and progressed in her time at Vandyke.”
“I feel very strongly about what a great school Vandyke is. I recommend it to many!”
“Vandyke has been an excellent school for my daughter. It is well run, it is positive, and the place seems to foster respect amongst pupils and staff.”
Reading all of the comments provides a flavour of opinion and spurs us to value our Student Voice and survey work and to continue to work hard at communication with students and parents to build our shared understanding of our world here in school.
I hope you will take some time to review the outcomes in the tables, as this feedback is an important part of the school self-evaluation process. I wish to thank everybody who took the time to participate.