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Stirling offers parent platform

There will be no return to "closed central control", Gordon Jeyes, director of education in Stirling, told a parent forum last Saturday, sponsored by The TES Scotland Local government reform had confirmed a change of management style over the past 15 years and Stirling would aim to build on consultation and communication with parents. Mr Jeyes said: "Many, many schools have had excellent contacts but others have been cautious, timid, have not been good at dealing with enquiries and have hidden behind professional mystic." Teachers had to recognise they sometimes got things wrong and needed help.

Only 22 of the council's 54 schools have school boards, Mr Jeyes pointed out. Links through boards were therefore not enough and other means of communicating with parents had to be developed. He appealed for parents to join the public debate about funding.

"Stirling Council has high expectation, considerable ambition and a limited budget. We are trying to deliver a Pounds 40 million service for Pounds 35 million," Mr Jeyes said.

Cameron Munro, of the Quality in Education Centre at Strathclyde University, told parents that schools often failed to respond to requests from parents for information about children's progress and how they could help at home.

Mr Munro, parent officer in the former Strathclyde Region, called for schools to develop "an Asda factor". The supermarket chain had made aisles wider, put in cr ches and designed car parks to allow for children accompanying adults. A section in its glossy magazine included a feature on homework.

Schools, however, had made considerable progress over the past 20 years, as had parent representatives. Most parents wanted to know what was practicable and possible to assist their children.

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