Staff in teacher jobs may be surprised to learn that most parents do not choose a school based on its league table placing, according to a study of 12,000 parents by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies.
Other factors such as small class sizes and childcare are more important to potential pupils' families, the study found.
Less than one-fifth (19 per cent) of parents said performance was a top priority, far fewer than those who cited proximity to home or friends or siblings attending the school as the most important factors in their choice.
The study was compiled from data collected by the Millennium Cohort Study which is following 18,000 children as they grow up and their parents' attitudes.
The findings follow years of discussion over whether children should be forced to sit exams at young ages, with results directly influencing a school's placement in the league tables.
Education secretary Ed Balls has said that parents rely on exam results to choose the best schools, but the study's findings may show a different story.
A spokesman from the Department for Children, Schools and Families said parents look at a range of factors when choosing a school, and said the government makes no apology for putting a strong emphasis on results.