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Hidden risks of parents' evening;Internet insights;Briefing

PARENTS' evenings are "fraught with jeopardy and risk of censure for all concerned", says a report on the website of the Centre for Applied Research in Education at the University of East Anglia.

The report is one of many on the site at:

All the research is summarised and some full reports can be downloaded.

Research by Maggie MacLure and Barbara Walker reveals the pitfalls in those brief, complicated exchanges at parents' evenings.

Parents, teachers and pupils often have conflicting suspicions about what the real agenda of the evening is. The research provides evidence that each group will have reasonable grounds for thinking that blame is being pushed their way during an evening.It advises teachers to "remember that parents may value straight talking over good news" to "be specific"; and not to "monopolise the conversation" - but it acknowledges this advice might be difficult to follow.

"Secondary School Parents' Evenings: A Qualitative Study" is available at:

Readers can email suggestions on future Internet Insights to Sam Saunders at Education researchers who wish to disseminate their findings in The TES should send summaries of no more than 750 words to David Budge, Research Editor, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX. Tel 0171 782 3276. E-mail

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