The Department for Education has today released its Schools White Paper called 'Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child'. It has been launched by Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi and it spells out the government's ambitions for schools up to 2030. The proposals may become law following scrutiny in parliament.
Parentkind’s CEO John Jolly recently commented on the “Parent Pledge” that is at a major part of the white paper for the Department for Education's press release. This is what he had to say:
"Parentkind strongly welcomes the ‘parent pledge’ that is embedded at the heart of this white paper. Our organisation exists to give parents a voice in their child’s education, and our aim is to bring schools and parents closer together in partnership.
"I am delighted that the Education Secretary has taken notice of the research on parent voice, recognised the vital contribution of parents and sought to place parents at the front and centre of the schools paper.
"Children’s literacy and numeracy have been shown to improve with parental support, and making dedicated efforts to enable greater parental participation in children’s learning can only have hugely beneficial consequences for families and society."
What does the Schools White Paper promise parents?
- The Parent Pledge will see schools providing support such as tutoring if children fall behind in English or maths. Parents will be kept informed about their progress with regular updates, and advised on how to support learning at home.
- The Parent Pledge should not lead to schools over-testing children, labelling them as “behind”, or narrowing their experience of a full curriculum to focus on English and maths. It should be based on reliable assessment and used to provide support that complements children's core education.
- Every school will be part of a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT). MATs will have a strong local identity, and engage effectively with parents and the wider community.
- There will be a standardised minimum length of school the day so that children will receive 32½ hours of schooling per week.
What does the Schools White Paper mean for parents?
Parentkind views the white paper as a major step forward in policymakers recognising the importance of parental participation in a child's education, and that having parents on board and supporting learning at home makes a huge difference to ensuring children reach their academic potential. Not only that but parents have consistently told us in surveys and polls that they want a greater involvement in their child's education and they want schools, MATs and government to be more accountable to them. We have been feeding back all of our parent voice research to the DfE and are delighted to see that parents are being recognised as a solution to improving education outcomes, closing the attainment gap and ensuring the best possible futures for our young people.
The future of parents in education
Parentkind will continue to check in with parents' views on education with a range of polls and surveys on the most pressing issues of the day. Results will be fed back to the Department for Education and other stakeholders. We will also continue to suggest measures to policymakers for successfully embedding parents into the school accountability structure, ensuring that every school gets the most out of parental participation, and every teacher is trained to engage with parents. Solutions such as the Blueprint for Parent-Friendly Schools will complement the DfE's ambition to fully realise the parental role in children's learning by providing schools with best-practice. Reaping the benefits of sound parental participation will also require further parental consultation at every level, to ensure that schools and homes are working together in partnership. Parentkind will continue to advocate for the benefits of parent consultation at every level, and for widening the opportunities for parents to participate fully in their child's learning.