School surveys

School questionnaires gather feedback from parents, pupils and staff.

Parent online surveys: getting a good response

At NFER we want to help you get the best response rate possible from your online Parent Surveys. And we practise what we preach by asking all the schools that complete our School Surveys how they do it and why they do it. We’ve used these results, as well as our research expertise, to put together some techniques to help you get a good response.

  • Provide clear, simple instructions with the link
  • Stress the importance to the school and how the results will be used for school improvement
  • Highlight that the survey can be completed using smartphones or tablets
  • Give a realistic closing date, ideally including at least one weekend for completion
  • Think about the timing – end of term is often a busy time for parents too
  • Personalise your request
  • Offer help to those who might need it
  • Remind parents that it is an anonymous survey
  • State how you will share the results with parents
  • Say ‘thank you’.

The following techniques could help boost your response rate even higher:

  • Mention the survey (with the link) in ALL communication with parents, such as emails, newsletters, social media, website home page and parent pages, text messages, printed letters, noticeboards, assemblies and parents’ evenings
  • Send reminders leading up to the closing date
  • Ask children to remind their parents
  • Remind parents face-to-face
  • Make it easy for parents without web access by leaving a computer set up in reception for parents to access at any time
  • Co-ordinating with an open evening means you could ask parents to complete the survey before appointments using computers/tablets already set up.

Some schools incentivise parents in the following way:

  • Give house points or team points for each completed survey
  • Give raffle tickets for pupils to enter a prize draw
  • Provide incentives for classes or years that complete the most surveys
  • Offer gift vouchers for local amenities or book suppliers.

If you have any other suggestions that have worked for you, then please let us know so we can share them with others. Simply email products@nfer.ac.uk with your successful technique. Thank you.

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