Ofsted has pledged to investigate any concerns about comments made on the ParentView website within 24 hours.
The website, launched last year, is an online questionnaire which allows parents to give views on their children’s schools. However, it has courted controversy because it allows anyone to pass comments on a school anonymously, leading to fears of false accusations – or false statements being made about a school.
The 24-hour pledge comes among other changes including an increase in the number of comments that parents need to make before a school’s results are shown live on the site.
Previously a school report would be generated after just three completed comments, but this figure has now been increased to 10.
ParentView contributes to Ofsted’s risk assessment process and helps to determine when a school should be inspected.
The changes have been made after discussions between the inspectorate and professional bodies including the National Association of Head Teachers.
General secretary Russell Hobby said: “We’re pleased to see that the protection for the safe use of ParentView has been improved. It is incredibly important that headteachers get parents’ views of their school and it is heartening that ParentView has uncovered that the vast majority of parents are really happy and delighted with the education their children are receiving.”
Headteachers can now also sign up to email alerts, which will keep them informed about changes to their school’s results on the website.
Elsewhere, Ofsted has produced a toolkit for schools to help them promote the use of ParentView in their communities.
Chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said: “I want to see all schools urging parents and carers to use the ParentView online questionnaire. The views of parents help inspectors form an accurate picture of how a school is performing.
“Just as importantly, the changes made to ParentView will allow headteachers to regularly monitor how parents see the school and are part of our commitment to help schools improve.”
The ParentView toolkit, leaflet and video are available at http://ofsted.gov.uk/schools/for-schools/parent-view/parent-view while Parent View is at http://parentview.ofsted.gov.uk/