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Parents crave contact

More than 7,000 schools now employ a parent support adviser, writes Kerra Maddern. But half of mothers and fathers still think the relationship with their child's teachers is not close enough, a new survey says.

The research, for the Training and Development Agency for Schools, shows many parents want more interaction with schools and a single, dedicated point of contact.

The survey of more than 1,000 parents reveals many are confused when it comes to approaching schools - 42 per cent claimed not to know who to contact about their child's welfare, while 40 per cent did not know who to talk to about behaviour and attendance issues.

All schools are expected to provide parenting support by September 2010. There are now 2,254 advisers and similar workers supporting 7,608 schools.

They run parenting workshops, settling in sessions, accompany parents to mediation meetings, liaise with statutory agencies and other organisations on behalf of parents and carers, offer advice, and highlight sources of further support.

Nichola Smith, an adviser at Howden Le Wear Primary School in Durham, said: "I think the school and parents have taken well to my role. Those who were previously reluctant to meet the staff are now coming into the school."

The survey also found that almost half of parents said it would be beneficial if schools ran settling in sessions for pupils and parents.

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