Ofsted has raised the prospect of using Facebook and Twitter posts to analyse how schools are performing.
The schools watchdog said it was exploring “the possibility of using near-real-time data and information from social media and other sources to predict and prevent decline in school performance”.
The organisation said the frequency and content of social media posts about a particular school could help it decide whether an inspector should visit sooner than planned.
Schools ranked “outstanding” do not have routine inspections unless there are concerns that standards may be slipping, while “good” schools have short inspections every three years.
Mark Orchison, the managing director of 9ine Consulting, which advises schools on everything from safeguarding to cybersecurity, said it seemed likely the exercise would involve gathering real-time data about what people were saying about individual schools.
He said it could be useful in terms of supporting work that Ofsted already does looking into parental perceptions of their children’s schools, but it was also potentially dangerous.