Customer Perception: Tracking Research

September 24, 2009 at 8:54 am 1 comment

Posted by Anthea Hollist

In 2006, the DCSF commissioned BMG Research to undertake a 3 year customer perception tracking study of three key audiences: general public; parents of children and young people; and young people aged 11-19. The research had four aims: 1) to monitor perceptions of overall quality of state education; 2) measure attitudes towards various issues (such as child wellbeing and safety);  3) understand perceptions towards participants in Higher Education; 4) to understand the overall perception of England as a place to live.  A summary of the results can be read here.

The findings were somewhat surprising as I had been led to believe (by the media) that schools were no longer a safe place, filled with bullying, anti-social delinquents which terrorized the school and community; as well as a place with mediocre standards which no longer helped students find direction or achieve success. However this study put all of these ‘ideas’ to rest.

 It was interesting to see the difference in perceptions between the three groups, and it seemed that the general public opinions were far more unrealistic than either parents or students; which are not unsurprising given that most of us are not directly in contact with the school environment and rely solely on the media. Again their were differences between parents and students (in terms of degree), which again is not surprising given that students are the ones who are interacting daily within a school environment. It was nice however to see that parents and students generally think along the same lines. 

While this study presents a positive image of school, I am somewhat conscious of who were included in the sample. What regions were selected? What type of schools? How did they collect their sample (voluntary)? All these things may have played an impact on the results. However this research is a step in the right direction in understanding the complex nature of the educational system. Hearing only the voice of those heavily invested in the system (i.e students) paints a limited picture of the reality of the system. However understanding parents and the general public opinions in addition to students can help add depth and context to the situation.


Entry filed under: Education & Children's Services, Research, Schools & Multi-School Trusts.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Claire McEneaney  |  September 24, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Interesting when you think how much the general public is influenced by the media – is it really right that they have so much control over what we do and do not know?


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