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Parent alliance on home front;Conference;Educational Institute of Scotland

The EIS has taken the unusual step of embracing the Scottish Parent Teacher Council leadership and effectively delivering a snub to the school board network.

The Dundee conference saw the launch of a joint publication on partnership between parents and teachers. Alison Kirby, the SPTC's convener, became the first parent spokesperson to address delegates.

In a three-point plan to improve home-school relationships, Mrs Kirby called for more time to discuss children's progress and talk about curriculum and school policies. She also wants parents and teachers to be entitled to time off work for involvement in local and national committees and money to fund at least one posted mailing home from the school. Letters sent via school bags invariably were lost, she told delegates.

The joint leaflet, Building on Partnership, criticises the recent consultation paper on parents for concentrating on school boards. "For the majority of parents, the most important parent-teacher link is not any committee but the access to individual teachers to discuss the progress of their child. This personal contact is important at all stages of the school," it states.

The EIS and the SPTC have recently been involved in separate skirmishes with the Scottish School Board Association. The council was also associated two years ago with the EIS campaign on education funding which attracted 40,000 to a march in Edinburgh.

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