In politics and in press we hear a lot about the quality of education. But what is that actually? And how can you as a parent learn more about the quality of the education of your child’s school or future school?
We have ‘freedom of education’. On the site of the national government you can read about this: “The freedom of education is a fundamental right. Everyone can set up a school that fits in with their own religious, ideological or educational convictions. Schools must meet certain conditions. Those conditions should have quality when compared with others. On behalf of the national government, the Inspectorate of Education monitors the quality of schools. But what does the inspection look at? and what does the inspection tell you about it, as a parent?
How does the inspectorate get information and what does it look at?
The inspectorate is obliged to visit a school once every four years. This visit is announced in advance. That day the inspector attends some lessons and he or she looks at the administration of classes and the school as a whole. In addition, the school communicates digital information to the inspection at regular intervals. This concerns the school guide, the school plan and other documents, for example with information from the pupil tracking system or information about finances. Based on the visit and the data provided, the inspectorate awards a supervision arrangement: ‘basis’, ‘weak’ or ‘very weak’. When there is ‘weak’ or ‘very weak’ the supervision is increased. In schools that have been labeled as ‘basic’ for some years now, it happens that the inspection stays away for more than four years.
What information does the inspection release and where can we find this information?
On the website of the inspectorate you can, as a parent, find information about every school. It varies per school how much information there is and how to up-to-date the information. In addition to the inspection package of the inspectorate, you will find information in a research report (PDF). This describes how the inspection came to its conclusion. In addition, figures (scale from 1 (bad) to 4 (good)) are given per component. An example of a component is: 9.1 The school has insight into the educational needs of its pupil population.
What can we do with this information?
By this way of rendering it is difficult for you as a parent to compare schools with each other. You would then have to download several reports, print them and put them next to each other. In addition, the reports differ greatly. For example, the examinations were done at different times and not all parts are included in every report. So at school a one may have looked at part 9.1, but at school b it may have been skipped. This makes it difficult to compare. It would be nice if the information that the inspection has is released so that you can find this information in school choice apps and school guides. Can you help us to do this?
How important is the information for you?
You will also notice that the explanation of the inspection on how they arrived at these scores is minimal. It is important to critically check what this information is actually worth in the light of the school choice. Think about the questions:
- What exactly does the opinion of the inspectorate say?
- Does the inspection look at matters that I consider important as a parent?
- To what extent do I count the judgment of the Inspectorate when choosing a school?
- What information would I, as a parent, want and how do I find it?