Parents are becoming more pleased with Upper Canada College, according to an online survey conducted last June with support from the United States-based National Association of Independent Schools.
There were 362 responses (evenly split from the Prep and Upper Schools) to the survey, and parents’ overall satisfaction with the College rose to 4.4 out of five, compared to 4.2 out of five in a similar 2011 survey. More than 86 per cent of respondents were either very satisfied or satisfied, and just two per cent were dissatisfied.
“It was very helpful to have access to these results early in my tenure,” says principal Sam McKinney, who also counts himself as a member of the UCC parent community.
“Overall we are very pleased with the results of this survey, but there are always areas for improvement and we are continuously striving to be better,” says vice-principal of advancement and strategy Jim Garner. “The results of this survey, along with those from our student, employee and Old Boy surveys, provide important feedback as we work towards setting UCC’s future strategic directions over the coming months.”
Parents were also asked to rate on a 10-point scale to what degree they would be inclined to recommend UCC. The average response was an encouraging 8.8, with 71 per cent of answers in the two highest categories.
Quality of teachers, a challenging curriculum in core academic subjects, small class size, technology/computer skill development, library and research resources, and learning spaces are among the academic and non-academic factors that parents have identified as important to them, and UCC received high satisfaction ratings in all of those categories.
When asked how well UCC was preparing their sons in 25 different academic areas, responses levelled out to an average score of 4.01 out of five. The school performed similarly well on several similar questions related to student preparation in such areas as using technology, working collaboratively on a team and being open-minded.
UCC received an average 4.08 out of five satisfaction score for the way it delivers: athletic programs; co-curricular arts programs; other co-curricular clubs and activities; individual psychological or social counseling; school safety; and academic support services.
Parents of boarding students were asked to rate their satisfaction in nine categories — including facilities, meals and weekend activities and programs — and the average score was 4.28 out of five.
Another interesting finding from the survey was that 36 languages were identified as spoken or heard at home: Arabic, Bengali, Burushaski, Cantonese, Dutch, Estonian, French, German, Greek, Gujerati, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Katchi, Korean, Mandarin, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Shanghainese, Shina, Slovak, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese and Yoruba.
UCC aims to conduct comprehensive stakeholder surveys with employees, Old Boys, parents and students every four to five years, with periodic shorter “pulse” surveys being issued from time to time in between. The last major parent survey was undertaken in 2011.