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Parent partners compared

The Scottish Office, which is already engaged in a major exercise in consulting parents about involvement in their children's education, has won a European contract to bring together the experience of other countries.

Under the Socrates programme the European Commission is funding a year's study, led by Scottish HMI, into parents' projects in Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands and Portugal.

Each country will prepare one or more case studies of good practice. These will be examined in the autumn at a conference in Edinburgh involving all EU member states.

The work started at a meeting of the participating countries in Edinburgh this week. The main objectives are to clarify the purposes of involving parents and to identify methods of ensuring that participation in education is effective.

Brian Wilson, Education Minister, said that the study would complement the work arising from the consultation paper Parents as Partners, launched in January. "I look forward to drawing on the results as we continue to develop the partnership role of parents in Scottish education," he said.

Within the Scottish Office the successful bid to lead the study is regarded as evidence that the European Commission has a high regard for the department's pragmatic approach to parental involvement - with emphasis, for example, on the training of school board members.

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