Bad communications

1st July 2005 at 01:00
The recent consultation on parental involvement with schools, Making the Difference, seems to have generated some heat from the "minority of parents" who "reflect parent interest in school management rather than parent involvement in their children's education" ("Rethink Parent Forums", June 10).

The consultation was not just about school boards versus forums. Views were also sought on general communication between schools and parents, and a proposed obligation on education authorities to set up conciliation departments to deal with breakdowns in communication. The media seem to have overlooked these questions tucked away at the end of the questionnaire, which was predominantly about the proposed forums.

Many parents would have strong views on school communication for a variety of reasons. Yet their concerns will not appear in the results of the consultation because their children's schools did not communicate the fact it was taking place.

Leaflets were sent out to schools for dissemination to parents. I do not know how many were sent out - or to whom they were addressed - but, from asking friends and colleagues informally and at meetings, only two out of about 80 people in all, parents and teachers, were aware of the consultation.

Could the 95 per cent support for the retention of school boards be a reflection of how the leaflets were distributed?

Ian Findlay ("Why throw out the good with the bad?" TESS, June 17) is concerned that these expressed views might not be taken into account. "How will most of us know whether they have listened," he asks, "if the results are available only in the Scottish Executive library and on the website on July 5, after school holidays have begun?"

The vast majority of parents did not even know they had been asked in the first place.

Alison Waugh Development officer ICT and additional support needs City of Edinburgh Council

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