Kelly to call for parents to take on bigger role

Parents should accept greater responsibility for their children's education, Ruth Kelly was expected to say in her first speech as Education Secretary.

Ms Kelly was not expected to announce any new policies in her speech at the North of England Education Conference in Manchester. Instead, she planned to set the tone for her approach to her new post.

She was due to say that the close involvement parents now had with schools would have been unthinkable a generation ago, but parents needed to recognise that they had responsibilities as well as rights when it came to their child's schooling.

The Education Secretary cites research, carried out for the Government two years ago, which showed that parental input had a greater impact on primary pupils' educational achievements than the quality of their school.

The study by Professor Charles Desforges of Exeter university showed that parents could help improve their child's results just by talking with them at meal times and reading to them.

Ms Kelly was also expected to say that education was at the root of an "opportunity society" where all families had access to high-quality schools.

She was expected to praise teachers for changing children's lives and highlight the need to tackle the misbehaviour which disrupted lessons by helping pupils overcome behaviour problems, rather than denying them an education. Ms Kelly's speech was also expected to defend rigorous school inspections.

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Michael Shaw

I'm the director of TES Pro and former deputy editor of the TES magazine. I joined the publication as a news reporter back in 2002, and have worked in a variety of journalistic roles including editing its comment and news pages. In 2013 I set up the app version of the magazine, TES Reader, and the free TES Jobs app Michael Shaw