Stretched teachers fill gaps left by 'poor parenting'

MPs hear concerns that teachers will be pushed 'to breaking point' covering pupils' welfare needs
17th November 2020, 1:20pm

Share

Stretched teachers fill gaps left by 'poor parenting'

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/stretched-teachers-fill-gaps-left-poor-parenting
Teachers Are Being Left To Plug The Gaps Left By 'poor Parenting', Mps Told

Schools are being stretched beyond capacity as teachers and heads try to fill the gaps left by "poor parenting", MPs heard today.

Speaking at a House of Commons Education Committee hearing this morning, Helena Mills, chief executive at BMAT Education, an academy chain based in Essex, said that schools needed more funding to support struggling families.


Related: 'Nonsensical' to teach white privilege to working-class students

Spielman: 'White working class lack migrants' drive'

Opinion: 'Why Amanda Spielman is wrong about the white working class'

Exclusive: Progress 8 'penalises schools in white working-class communities'


Ms Mills said: "We've got some schools where we've got high numbers of disadvantaged but the majority are from black and ethnic minority groups - those parents, absolutely when their child goes home, they make them study, but also they're talking to that child from a very early age saying, 'You're going to go to university, you've got to get good GCSE grades, you've got to get good A level grades.'"

The impact of 'poor parenting' on schools

She added: "It's a bit of a stereotype but there are significant numbers amongst our white poor where the parents aren't saying that.

"I think when parenting is poor, and I use that word very carefully, I do think the school takes on an increasingly important role and that makes the difference, and if you look at schools who are doing things...like extending the school day, making sure kids have prep time after school, they have spaces to learn, those schools are where the children are really successful academically."

Ms Mills said that "poor parenting can be a barrier" but this could be surmounted "as long as the school takes on that parenting role".

However, that required "additional resources and funding", she added.

Earlier in the debate, Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis said that schools should not act as the "welfare state", and that the growing pressure on school leaders and teachers to fill in the gaps was affecting recruitment.

"I think the role of the school is to educate, not be part of the welfare state," Mr Gullis said.

He added: "I do worry that we will eventually push teachers to breaking point at some stage if it's all on them and not on other people to also support [vulnerable pupils] in a wider sense."

Ms Mills said her schools already fed children and "if we could bath them and put them to bed, we would because we take on that parenting role".

This was, she said, "not because our parents aren't effective parents but they lack the skill to parent the child academically, and we take on that role for them and actually take that pressure away from the parents, but that does come with a cost".

Mr Gullis said this created a "large burden" for schools.

"I think that does sometimes play into the recruitment crisis that we referred to earlier, but I agree in areas of disadvantage [that] the school does have an important role," he said. 

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Register for free to read more

You can read two more articles on Tes for free this month if you register using the button below.

Alternatively, you can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters

Already registered? Log in

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Subscribe to read more

You can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters