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SO FAR, only a quarter of our parents have signed the home-school agreement. We never felt particularly enamoured of the idea. Clearly, you cannot create a good relationship simply by codifying the ground rules.

Nevertheless, we decided to make a virtue of necessity and use the process of creating a formal agreement to institute discussions between staff, governors, parents and pupils about what we expected of each other.

We talked about our aspirations for the school and the importance of partnership. Our parents are supportive, attendmeetings and school events, have high aspirations for their children and expectations of the school. So why haven't they signed?

Governors are required to encourage as many parents as possible to sign the agreements. As chair, I should urge them to do so, but how? I have neither stick nor carrot. And what benefits, to the parents, children or school, can I cite as an inducement? Like the annual meeting for parents, this appears to be another attempt at formalising the partnership which is doomed to end in apathy.

Joan Dalton

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