School Opinion Survey FAQs


What is the School Opinion Survey?

School Opinion Surveys canvass the views of parents/caregivers, students and school staff from every state school on what our schools do well and how they can improve.

There are 5 different confidential surveys for:

  • Parents/Caregivers
  • Students
  • Students in special schools
  • Staff
  • Principals.

Opinions on the school, student learning and student well-being are sought from a parent/caregiver in all families and a sample of students from each state school.

Opinions on the school as a workplace are sought from all state school staff and principals with additional questions for teaching staff on their confidence to teach and improve student outcomes. Principals are also asked on their confidence to lead the school and improve student outcomes.

Who is surveyed?

Respondents include:

  • Parents/Caregivers—Every family in the school with a child enrolled in Years Prep-12.
  • Students—A random sample of 60 students from Years 5, 6, 8 and 11. However, in some smaller schools, students in Years 4, 7, 9 or 10 may be included.
  • Students in special schools—The survey is administered to students at the Principal's discretion.
  • Staff—All teaching and non-teaching school staff employed during the survey period. This survey includes permanent, temporary, casual, part-time and full-time staff and excludes staff on leave during the survey period.
  • Principals—All principals and heads of campuses.

When is the survey conducted?

The survey is conducted in Semester 2 so that ​​most respondents have had sufficient experience of the school to provide considered opinions, and so that all parents/caregivers have had the opportunity to experience school-based reporting. This also gives sufficient time for schools to respond to the survey results during the current school year.

When should the survey be completed?

Ideally, all surveys should be completed during the first survey week. The online surveys remain open slightly longer to increase response rates.

Completed parent/caregiver survey paper forms should be returned to the school as close to the survey week as possible, to ensure that responses contribute to the results provided back to the school.

Who administers the survey?

The survey is processed by the department. This includes administration of the online surveys, processing and reporting. An independent private contractor prints and distributes survey forms and the online access slips, and also scans the completed paper surveys.

Is it compulsory to do the survey?

Participation in the survey is voluntary. Respondents are strongly encouraged to provide their opinions so the survey results are representative of the opinions at each school.

How will individual responses make a difference?

Survey results are used to assess and investigate how well schools are going, and to identify areas for improvement. If you are a parent/caregiver, your responses can shape better learning environments. If you are a staff member, your responses can be used to make it a better workplace.

Who will see the survey responses?

The login and password combination for the online versions of the survey and barcodes on paper forms are unique but are not linked to individuals. They are just used to ensure that forms are distributed to the correct school and to allow for school level analyses of the information collected.

Confidentiality envelopes remain sealed until opened by an external contractor for scanning. Then the data is sent to the department for analysis and reporting.

All survey responses are treated confidentially and stored securely by the department in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld). Access to individual responses is restricted to a small number of central office staff. Schools will only receive aggregated reports where sufficient responses are received to guarantee the confidentiality of individual responses.

For ease of tracking, it is the department's preference for parents/caregivers to return their completed survey form to the school within the provided confidentiality envelope. However, the option to forward the completed survey forms directly to the external contractor is available by sending these to:

Fuji Xerox
Reply paid 85396
62 Sandstone Place
Parkinson QLD 4115

Will feedback remain confidential?

Your responses will be strictly confidential and the information is used in ways which protect individual responses. All responses are protected by the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld). The department is legally bound to ensure that no identifying information is published or released.

Why does the survey ask for personal information?

The survey collects general background information to analyse the survey results in different ways, such as differences in responses between groups, like teaching and non-teaching school staff or students in different year levels. Strict confidentiality rules are applied to any reporting of these groups, so that even in very small schools, confidentiality is maintained. Data is not reported if an individual's responses can be identified.

What happens to the paper forms?

All completed parent/caregiver paper forms are forwarded to an external contractor for scanning with the data then forwarded to the department for analysis and reporting. The paper forms are then archived in accordance with the department's statutory obligations.

Where is the survey data stored?

All survey responses are treated confidentially and stored securely. As part of the department's adherence to record keeping requirements:

  • paper forms are archived and stored for a period of five years before they are securely destroyed
  • online responses are stored securely on departmental servers with access restricted to a small number of central office staff.

When are the survey results available?

Survey results are scheduled for release in November each year.

How will the results be used?

Towards the end of the school year, each school receives the results for their school. Schools can share their results in different ways, including in the school annual report.

The department also reports system level data (for example, for all schools) in the department's annual report as stakeholder satisfaction is a key performance indicator.

How long does it take to complete the survey?

This varies, however it usually takes less than 10 minutes.

How can the survey be accessed?

  • Parents/Caregivers—An invitation letter with a link to the online survey is sent home with each eldest child enrolled in the school. Some parents (in remote areas) receive a paper form but have the option to complete the paper form or complete the survey online.
  • Students—Students receive online access slips with the survey link and login details.
  • Students in special schools—Schools receive an email containing all of the online access details with the survey link and login details.
  • Staff—Staff receive online access slips that contain the survey link and login details.
  • Principals—Principals (including heads of campus) are emailed the survey link and login details.

What if it is difficult to respond to a survey statement?

Each survey is made up of a series of statements. It is understood that it may be difficult to select a single response for some statements when an opinion is not clearly one way or the other. Respondents are encouraged to select a single response that best represents their views most of the time. A response that is close to what a respondent thinks is more useful than no response at all.

If a respondent cannot respond to a statement, or feels that a statement is not relevant, they are asked to select the 'Unable to comment' response and move to the next statement.

Parents/caregivers with more than one child enrolled at the respective school should answer the survey with their eldest child in mind.

Can the survey be completed without internet access?

Online access to the survey is only available with a valid login and password and access to the internet (e.g. at home, at work, at school, etc.). The survey can be completed on any computer, tablet or smart phone with internet access. Schools are encouraged to make computer and internet facilities available for parents/caregivers who do not have ready access to the internet at home. Contact the Survey Team on free call 1800 067 971 if you require assistance with completing the survey over the phone.

Can the survey be viewed before filling it in?

It is not possible to browse through the online survey before filling it in. However, it is possible to go back and forth between the online pages. Once the 'finalise' button has been selected, it is not possible to review or change responses.

Can the online survey be accessed multiple times?

It is possible to go in and out of the online survey using the provided online survey access details so long as the 'finalise' button has not been selected at the end of the survey. After the 'finalise' button has been selected, it is no longer possible to review or change survey responses.

What happens if a parent/caregiver completes both a paper survey and an online survey?

If a parent/caregiver submits a paper survey and an online survey, the responses from the online survey will be used for analysis and reporting purposes.

Who is the survey contact?

If you have any questions or concerns about the School Opinion Survey that cannot be resolved by your school, please email us.

Can feedback be provided on the survey?

The department welcomes feedback on any aspect of the survey process, the survey questionnaire, or suggestions for future improvement. An online school feedback form will be available throughout the survey period.​​​​​​

Last updated 20 October 2020