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Who should run state schools?

Ipsos MORI survey of the general public for NASUWT and Unison

Published:1 April 2010
Fieldwork:5-11 March 2010
Keywords:Education, Schools
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NASUWT and Unison commissioned Ipsos MORI to investigate who the public thinks should run state schools.

We asked the public to consider the idea that ‘more schools in the future could be run directly by private companies, religious groups, charities or groups of parents rather than being run by the local council as they generally are now’. Around twice as many thought this was a bad idea as a good idea (44% considered it bad, 24% good). The majority support the status quo: 62% think that local authorities are best placed to run schools.

These views reflect a positive balance of opinion about state education: 54% think it is generally good compared with 19% who think it is poor (the remainder do not state an opinion). Views are even more positive among parents, where 79% rate their own children’s schools as good.

Asked to consider a scenario where a school run by a local authority was failing to deliver good standards of education, the public most often cites the Government (37%) and the local authority (26%) as being responsible for addressing the failings. Even when schools are run by organisations other than the local council, the public is still more likely to hold the Government accountable than the organisation directly running the school (35% compared with 21%).

The public was also asked to consider the idea of ‘individual parents being asked to pay additional fees for their own children’s education to supplement the funding from taxes’. Nearly one in five (18%) support this idea but around three in five (64%) oppose it.
In total, a representative sample of 1,211 adults in England was interviewed face-to-face in their homes from 5-11 March.

Technical Note

  • Results based on a sample of the general public, aged 15+, living in England 
  • Fieldwork carried out face-to-face 5-11 March 2010; in total 1,211 respondents were interviewed 
  • All fieldwork conducted using Ipsos MORI Omnibus Services
  • Where results do not sum to 100, this is due to computer rounding or multiple responses 
  • An asterisk (*) indicates a finding of less than 0.5%, but greater than zero 
  • Results are weighted by sex, social grade, work status, region, housing tenure and ethnicity 
  • Questions are based on all respondents unless otherwise stated
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Julia Pye

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