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School Opinion Survey FAQs

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What is the School Opinion Survey?

The suite of School Opinion Surveys are undertaken each year by the Department of Education to obtain opinion information from parents/caregivers, students and school staff. The surveys are designed to help schools identify what they do well and how they can improve. The School Opinion Survey suite is comprised of five individual surveys:

  • Parent/Caregiver Survey
  • Student Survey
  • Student Survey for Special Schools
  • Staff Survey
  • Principal Survey.

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. Additional questions are included for teaching staff on their confidence to teach and improve student outcomes, while principals are also asked on their confidence to lead the school, including improvements in student outcomes.

Who is the survey intended for?

Depending on the size and composition of the school, the target population for the suite of School Opinion Survey are:

  • Parent/Caregiver Survey - Every family in the school with a child enrolled in Years Prep-12.
  • Student Survey - A sample of students in Years 5, 6, 8 and 11. In most schools, a random sample of 60 students from each of the target year levels are selected to complete the survey from a master list of students enrolled in the school. In some smaller schools, this sample will be supplemented by students in Years 4, 7, 9 or 10 as appropriate.
  • Student Survey for Special Schools - The survey is administered in special schools to age equivalent students at the Principal's discretion.
  • Staff Survey - All teaching and non-teaching school staff in paid employment during the survey enumeration period. The survey includes permanent, temporary, casual, part-time and full-time staff and excludes principals and staff on leave over the survey enumeration period.
  • Principal Survey - All principals and includes heads of campus.

Why is the survey conducted at this time of year?

The School Opinion 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. Term 3 is selected to provide sufficient time to provide survey results back to schools during the current school year.

When should the survey be completed?

Ideally, all surveys should be completed during the first survey enumeration week. The online surveys will however remain open for a slightly longer timeframe to ensure maximum response rates are obtained.

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

Who administers the survey?

The end-to-end processing of the School Opinion Survey is undertaken by the department and includes project management, administration of the online surveys, processing and reporting. An independent private contractor is responsible for the printing and distribution of the paper survey forms and online access slips, and the scanning of completed paper forms.

Is it compulsory to complete the survey?

Participation in the annual suite of School Opinion Survey is voluntary. Respondents are strongly encouraged to provide their opinions, as the greater the response rate from survey participants, the more closely the survey results will be representative of the overall opinions held at each school.

How will individual responses make a difference?

Survey results will be used to assess and investigate on how well schools are going, and to identify areas for future development. If you are a parent/caregiver of a child at a school, your responses can be used by the school to provide a better learning environment for your child. If you are a staff member at a school, your responses can be used by your school 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. The login and passwords for online surveys, and the barcodes for paper forms are 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, and the data are forwarded 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
C/- Manager
62 Sandstone Place
Parkinson QLD 4115

Will feedback remain confidential?

Your responses will be strictly confidential and the information will not be reported in ways which will allow for individuals to be identified. Your responses are protected by the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) and the department is legally bound to ensure that no identifying information is published nor released.

Why does the survey ask for personal information?

The School Opinion Survey collects general background information which is used to analyse the survey results in different ways, such as determining whether there are differences in responses between population sub-groups, such as teaching and non-teaching school staff and students in different year levels. Strict confidentiality rules are applied to any reporting of these sub-populations, which means that even in very small schools, the confidentiality of responses will be maintained. Data are not reported where an individual or an individual's response can be identified.

What happens to the paper forms?

All completed parent/caregiver paper forms will be forwarded to an external contractor where responses are scanned and the data will be 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, after which time they are securely and confidentially destroyed
  • online responses are stored securely on departmental servers, and access to this data is restricted to a small number of central office staff.

When will the survey results be available?

Survey results are scheduled for release in November each year.

How will the survey results be used?

Towards the end of the school year, each school will be provided with a number of reports detailing the results of the survey for their school. Different schools will make these results available in different ways, one of which will be the school's annual reporting responsibilities.

The department also releases data for departmental reporting levels (for example, aggregated for the whole of Queensland) which are included in departmental annual reporting responsibilities to determine the progress of key performance indicators.

How long will it take to complete the survey?

The individual surveys vary in length, and should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

How can the survey be accessed?

  • Parent/Caregiver Survey - Parents/caregivers will receive an invitation letter with a link to the online survey. This will be sent home with their eldest child enrolled in the school. Some parents (in remote areas) will receive a paper form rather than an invitation letter. They will have the option to complete the paper form or complete the survey online.
  • Student Survey - Students will receive online access slips that contain the necessary link and login details for the online survey.
  • Student Survey for Special Schools - Schools will receive an email containing all of the online access details that contain the necessary link and login details for the online survey.
  • Staff Survey - Staff will receive online access slips that contain the necessary link and login details for the online survey.
  • Principal Survey - Principals (including heads of campus) will be emailed the necessary link and login details to complete the online survey.

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

Please select one response only for each of the survey statements. A response that is close to what a respondent thinks is more useful than no response at all. It is understood that it may be difficult for respondents to select a single response for some of the survey statements when their opinion is not clearly one way or the other. However, respondents are encouraged to select a single response that best represents their views most of the time.

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 onto the next statement.

Parent/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 surveys can only be completed where there is access to the internet (e.g. at home, at work, at school, etc.), and access to the survey is only available for valid login/password combinations. Schools are encouraged to make computer and internet facilities available for parents/caregivers who do not have ready access to the internet at home. If you are unable to complete the survey online, please contact the Survey Team on free call 1800 067 971 for 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 survey pages and correct/change/view survey responses. Please note that after the 'submit' button has been clicked, it is no longer possible to review or change survey 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 'submit' button has not been clicked at the end of the survey. After the 'submit' button has been clicked, 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 contact us.

Can feedback be provided on the School Opinion Survey?

The department welcomes feedback on the School Opinion Survey. Feedback could include the survey process, the survey questionnaire or suggestions for future improvement. An online school feedback form will be available throughout the survey enumeration period.

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Last updated
20 February 2018