In August last year, Parentkind was invited to submit evidence to the Future Perfect Education Commission. They engaged stakeholders from all disciplines to develop a vision for an education system of tomorrow. We welcomed the opportunity to present them with parent voice, and responded on a variety of topics, including:
- Core skills
- Literacy and numeracy
- The role of Ofsted
- Parental engagement
- Education priorities
The Future Perfect Education Commission's resulting report is called "Enabling the next generation to become world ready, not just exam ready". It is the commission's response to the many pieces of evidence submitted to them last year by a wide range of education stakeholders. The report presents their roadmap of what an education system of the future should ideally look like. It is not based on changing or tweaking the current education system, but rather their view of what ought to be. Fundamentally, they believe that, on top of literacy and numeracy skills, the next generation of school-leavers will also need social and emotional skills "to cope with an uncertain, changing and high skills future".
Parentkind research cited
The report is split into seven sections, covering the areas of interest that stakeholders were invited to comment on in their submissions. In responding, we cited evidence of parental opinion on most areas, gained through our extensive research, particularly using data from our annual parent surveys. Choice quotations and statistics were pulled out in the report, and Parentkind was cited alongside other education stakeholders such as the Royal Society, The Sutton Trust, Pearson, Skills Builder Partnership, NAHT, Teacher Roundtable, NFER, Edge Foundation, UCAS and others.
What does the report say about the role of parents in education?
We are pleased to see a pull-out quotation from our response, "the vast majority of parents want to be active participants in their child's education" used in their section on schools and society. As well as quoting us, the commission goes further in acknowledging the role of parents, and not just passively, in the ways in which parents can support learning, but actively, in seeking input in the future of education from parents as a recognised stakeholder. Although schools lacking the resources and capability to engage with its community, including parents, is mentioned as a potential challenge in this section, Parentkind is well-placed to advise on cost-effective best practice parental engagement, especially through our Blueprint for Parent-Friendly Schools. A nationwide roll-out of our Blueprint would meet the recommendation of the commission's "future perfect school system" where schools "work with the community in so far as such work will improve educational outcomes. This is particularly important in early years and for engaging parents who have low engagement with their children's education."
We were also pleased to see the statistic "67% of parents wished to have a say at government level, but only 6% had done so" pulled out in the section on policy. Our research on accountability, and the policy statements we have made as a consequence, show that parents want to have a say at every level of decision-making, from schools to MATs to government. We continue to present to stakeholders the right of every parent to have a say in the education of their child, and to be seen as the most important stakeholder in education at every level of accountability.
The role of the Future Perfect Education Commission
The politically-neutral commission was formed in 2018. It is formed of influential figures in education policy who wish to create a vision of a future education system that makes children world-ready and not just exam-ready. In doing so, they seek to change the debate on the future of education and influence policymakers a new direction.