Parents call on schools to address the accountability gap

27/11/18

New research launched today (28th November 2018) reveals that two thirds (66%) of parents want schools to be more accountable to them with three quarters (77%) wishing to have a say on their child’s education at school level. Despite this, only half of parents believe their school listens to (53%) or takes action (55%) based on their views.

Parentkind, the national charity that supports parents in taking an active role in their child’s education, launches the findings, the third tranche from its latest annual parent survey, following results released in the last two months on mental health and wellbeing; and parental voluntary contributions and funding in schools.

The research showed that more than eight in 10 parents want to play an active role (88%) in their child’s education and describe themselves as supportive of their child’s school (85%). They report the top four areas of school life on which they would like to be consulted to include:

  • Curriculum (56%)
  • Pupil behaviour (51%)
  • Homework (44%)
  • Budgets/school costs (30%)

Despite this, a minority of parents - three in 10 or less - report having actually been consulted on these issues (curriculum 27%; behaviour 30%; homework 32%; budgets 20%), while two in five (42%) say they have not raised issues, contributed ideas or offered feedback on matters that affect their child’s education at all in the past year. Beyond school level, six in 10 (60%) parents want a say on their child’s education at Education Authority / MAT or government level, but only three in 10 say these organisations listen to their views (35% and 30%).

More encouragingly, when it comes to satisfaction levels, nearly three quarters (71%) of parents are happy about the overall quality of their child’s school with two thirds (67%) positive about the school’s effectiveness in communicating with them or in their ability to help parents support their child’s learning outside of school (62%). Only half (57%) however, report being satisfied with the opportunities to get involved in their child’s school.

Parentkind believes that every school should have a consultative parent body, such as a parent council, where mums’ and dads’ views are sought in an inclusive and representative way and where a broad range of topics can be discussed, particularly in relation to those that impact their child’s education and learning directly. School inspectors should also be required to include arguably ‘softer’ indicators in their performance measures of schools where the overall experience of a child’s learning is taken into consideration.

Michelle Doyle Wildman, Acting CEO of Parentkind, commented on the findings saying:

“Today’s findings make for fascinating reading. UK parents want to be active in their child’s education and school life. And schools are doing well in telling them what is going on and how their child is doing. However, Parentkind’s survey shows a growing gap between how parents would like to be involved and how schools, local authorities, school trusts and the government do that in practice. “It’s clear that parents have a desire and right to have a say in decisions that affect them and their children, but the needs of all mums and dads in our society are not being met by what is currently on offer. Our children’s education is too important not to benefit from an input from parents. We are calling on all parties to work with us to devise better ways to make our education services more parent-friendly, and it is through better partnership working between home and school that our children will be given the chance to have the best learning experience possible”.

ENDS

For further information and interview requests please contact the Parentkind press office on Tel 01732 375 477 / 07967 976 652 or via email at press@parentkind.org.uk or alessandra.edge-mckenna@parentkind.org.uk

Notes to editors

About Parentkind
Parentkind is the new name for PTA UK. Parentkind champions all the ways that parents can participate in education and is the leading Parent Teacher Association (PTA) membership organisation and registered charity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Parentkind also provides training and support to teachers, governors and parents to build successful home-school relationships. 

About the research
Parentkind’s Parent Insight Survey looks at parents’ attitudes and opinions on a number of topics related to their children’s education. This is the fourth wave of the survey (the first one was run in September 2015) and as well continuing to track parental attitudes year on year, it also asks parents their views on a number of new topics including perceptions of effectiveness of schools’ communications with parents; the importance of parental influence of children’s education; children’s mental health and wellbeing at school ; attributes that children should have when they leave school; and attributes of a successful school and parents’ satisfaction.

The survey was conducted online by Research Now. Respondents were recruited through their UK panel and took part in the survey from 13th Aug – 7th Sep 2018. It involved a total sample of 1,500 parents (England - 1,200, Northern Ireland - 100 and Wales -200) who have at least one child aged 5-18 attending state school. The sample is representative of the parent population by gender, age and social grade. The Welsh and Northern Ireland sub-samples were boosted to achieve a large enough base of respondents to compare findings across the three nations of England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Download the full infographic here

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