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Parents are us

THERE has not been an education minister who has not made some announcement about the vitally important role of parents and how they are going to work flat out to set new patterns of involvement. More than 20 years ago, parents were rallied by the Conservatives to attack local authorities' grip over catchment areas and choice of school became an inalienable right.

Ten years later, parents were invited to run schools as part of an opting-out wheeze against councils that went belly up. School boards are still with us but not as the Tories intended. Parents were then induced to sign up for voucher schemes to choose pre-school options. That was no great success either.

Successive Labour and Scottish Executive ministers have continued the recruitment campaign and launched an investigation into wider parental involvement. The focus is drifting towards social inclusion and sorting out bad behaviour. Parents are being blamed for not taking responsibilities, not being involved and not contributing to the attainment statistics of schools. If only they could be persuaded to sign up to the agenda, all would be different. One thing is certain. Twenty years from now, the then education minister will be launching yet another parents' campaign.

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