Education policy

Education is devolved to each of the countries that make up the United Kingdom. The UK Government is responsible for education in England with the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive being responsible for education in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively. Consequently different systems have developed over time.

Parentkind gives those with a parenting role a voice in education policies and systems in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We believe that every school should benefit from a successful and supportive PTA and every parent should have a voice in their child’s education at local, regional and national level. 

What do we do?

We champion the role of parents in their child’s education and a positive collaboration between home and school by seeking to influence key decision-makers such as:

  • politicians
  • teaching unions
  • government departments in England, NI and Wales such as the DfE and Ofsted, DENI and ESTYN.

What are our policy asks?

We want parental participation in children’s education to be valued by society, schools and parents themselves. Our three overarching policy asks are:

  • Parent consultation at MAT, Local Government and National Government levels. We want government to have a clear mandated responsibility for local government and national government organisations to ensure parents are consulted on matters affecting the education of their children, which is reflected in education policy, education guidance and is overseen by regulatory bodies.
  • Parent participation in schools. The measure of a school’s success must put parent voice and engagement at the core rather than the fringe. We want government to adopt parental participation approaches as set out in our Blueprint for Parent Friendly schools.
  • Parent consultation at school. We want government to mandate responsibility to  schools to consult with Parents to ensure all parents have the opportunity to express their views and have these taken into account on matters affecting the education of their children, and to ensure the potential impact of changes in school policies on families are understood.

How do we achieve it?

Throughout every region we keep on top of the education agenda and drive the discussion at national level by. We do this by advocating on behalf of parents in education through media interviews and newspaper/magazine features, and responding to education-related consultations, using parent voice research to evidence our submissions. See below for details of our activities in each region.

England

  • We secured Ian Mearns MP's agreement to set up and chair an All Party Parliamentary Group on Parental Participation in Education at Westminster and launched in July 2020. Now fully functioning with Parentkind are the secretariat.
  • We work closely with DFE, Ofsted, Ofqual, NEU, The Chartered College of Teaching, NGA, the Parental Engagement Network and reach out to a wide range of other organisations.
  • We actively raise our concerns and the parent viewpoint with education decision-makers including ministers and shadow ministers, the Education Select Committee, MPs and the Education Recovery Commissioner.
  • We write responses based on parent voice evidence to policy-focused consultations from the DfE, National Audit Office, Future Perfect Education Commission, Ofqual, Ofsted and others.

Wales

  • We engage with politicians and other key stakeholders through a Parent Advisory Group that addresses the need for parent consultation. The work of this group supports the implementation phase of the Curriculum for Wales and other policy delivery.
  • We secured key political connections including with Education Minister Kirsty Williams MS, Welsh Conservatives Education spokesperson Suzy Davies MS and member of Children, Young People and Education Committee Jane Hutt MS, Deputy Minister and First Whip for Welsh Labour Sian Gwenllian MS, and Education spokesperson and member of the Children, Young People and Education Committee, Plaid Cymru.
  • We respond to Welsh Government policy-based consultations such as those of Qualifications Wales and Estyn and other partner organisations. Our supporting evidence from parents was used by the Welsh Government Research service to inform Welsh Government reports.
  • For May 2021 elections we attended a number of round table/discussion group events with the Welsh Labour, Welsh Conservatives and Plaid Cymru parties held to inform their policy and election manifesto developments. We held one to one meetings with Senedd Members and policy advisors as follow-ups.

Northern Ireland 

  • We established MLAs, peers and organisations within the APWG from January 2020. The group is now fully functioning with Parentkind as the secretariat.
  • We are in regular contact with the Education Minister Peter Weir and other politicians involved in education, providing insights on parents' views and opinions on an array of matters, from school closures to the full return to school, transfer tests and much more.
  • We used evidence obtained through our Parents’ Parliaments to design resources that were used as a model for schools to replicate to support learning from home.
  • We worked alongside policy-makers and stakeholders to inform and influence the development of information materials and 'ask the expert' sessions for parents on supporting learning from home.
  • We presented our survey findings to an array of stakeholders including Stranmillis University, Education Committee members, and APG members. Our research has been in used extensively in NI, for example, the Department of Education. The Education Minister used our survey findings in several reports to the NI Assembly, when presenting evidence to the Education Committee, and when answering general questions to the Committee and the Assembly. Our survey was also included in the NI Assembly Research Matters papers. 
  • We organised a series of 'ask the Education Minister and MLAs' sessions with parents, some of which were recorded and shared online. 

Have your say

Whatever stage your child is at, you can play a part in having parent voice heard by:

Parentkind Vision & Mission

See About Us for details. 

See our Impact Reports.

Contact

For any policy enquiries, please get in touch:

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