Parents rely more heavily on the recommendations of people they know and trust than websites like My School to inform their school choices.

Parents deciding on a school for their child are more likely to be influenced by the opinions of their friends and family and “the feel” they get from a personal school visit than they are by websites like My School, according to Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) – the peak body representing the state’s more than 200 independent schools.

My School was recently updated with the latest 2018 NAPLAN results and updated school profile information.

ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said while websites like My School provided parents with a range of high-level information on schools, including literacy and numeracy outcomes, they don’t showcase the talented and dedicated teachers working in them or the school’s culture and approach to learning.

What parents want

“The latest findings from ISQ’s long-running What Parents Want Survey confirmed independent school parents are looking beyond test scores to a school’s culture and its holistic approach to education and student wellbeing,” Mr Robertson said.

“Parents most want a school that will help realise their child’s potential, develop their child’s independence, study ethic and community responsibility,” he said.

Parents rely on human insights, not websites

Mr Robertson said while more parents were using My School to research schooling options, it was not among the top information sources parents relied upon.

“The three most influential sources independent school parents depend on to inform their choice of school are: family, friends and colleagues; other parents with children at the school; and school open days,” he said.

“Parents want to meet the teachers who will be guiding and inspiring their child’s learning and the principal who leads their school and sets the cultural tone.”

Data informs teaching practices

Mr Robertson said independent schools used a range of student and school data to inform their teaching and learning programs for the greatest impact on student outcomes and progress.

“All data, whether it’s individual student data or aggregated school NAPLAN results, must be looked at in context, not isolation.”

Questions about My School data? Talk to your school

Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network Executive Officer Sue Kloeden encouraged families with any questions about the latest information added to the My School website to speak directly with their schools.

“It’s important that parents get the full picture of the depth and breadth of a school’s academic, vocational, cultural, community and sporting programs and its achievements and progress in all these areas,” she said.

“Open and honest communication, goodwill and positive partnerships between schools and parents are in the best interests of all students,” she said.

Queensland independent schools regularly hold Open Days or school tours for prospective parents. Parents can find their nearest independent school with ISQ’s school finder.