Parents want schools and policy makers to be more accountable to them

24/05/18

Our Annual Parent Survey has revealed that parents want more of a say in the education of their child at both local and national level but do not feel confident in doing so beyond the school gates.

The key findings of our report on accountability in schools include:

Schools being accountable to parents

  • The overwhelming majority (84%) of parents would like schools to consult them on a regular basis (data from Parentkind 2016 insight research showed 81% would support this)
  • 75% say they understand how schools are accountable to them
  • Almost two thirds (63%) say that schools should be more accountable to parents than they are currently
  • Only half (51%) of parents (compared to 56% in 2016) said that schools are taking action based on their views or feedback
  • Only four out of 10 (41%) say they understand the changes government is making to education and schools, down significantly from 2016 where 47% said they understood the changes being made.

Individual parents welcome an ‘open door policy’ and feel discussing matters directly with teachers and head teachers is effective. There is also support for parents to engage with schools collectively, with surveys and parent/school consultation groups enjoying similar popularity.

Only half (51%) of parents are confident in talking to school governors, suggesting a need for them to improve parental engagement by making themselves more visible and accessible.

Parents having a say at MAT, local authority and government level

  • Six out of 10 (62%) parents want a say at this level yet a similar number (63%) lack confidence in raising issues beyond school staff
  • Only half of parents (52%) tells us they understand lines of accountability  at this level
  • Well over half (59%) of parents said they did not know or understand the changes the government is making to education and only a quarter (25%) felt listened to by policy makers.

This research also showed that parents from lower socio-economic backgrounds feel markedly less confident in getting their voices heard and questions answered than their peers from higher socio-economic backgrounds.

Parentkind believes that all parents should be enabled to positively contribute their views at both a local and national level as part of the decision-making process in schools, with clear lines of accountability to support this.

Commenting on the research, Michelle Doyle Wildman, Acting CEO of Parentkind, said: “While many parents are willing to express their views at school level, there still remains considerable uncertainty as to how this can be done at local and central government level or when dealing with multi-academy trusts. In England multi-academy trusts will set the ethos and policies for the schools in their group. One implication of this is the seeming reduction of engagement with parents on matters and decisions which directly affect them and their families. To address this, Parentkind is calling for schools, local authorities, MATs and government departments to work harder to provide a range of ways for parents to properly engage in their child’s education and school life, and importantly to have a say.  In particular we would like to see an effective and inclusive parent group in every school with clear lines of communication into senior leadership teams and governing bodies.”

Read our full Parent Representation and School Accountability report.

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