Consumer advice isn't wanted

21st May 1999 at 01:00
LOCAL authorities and parents have challenged the Scottish Consumer Council's call for independent advice services on education. Nine councils declined to reply to a questionnaire while Judith Gillespie, development manager of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, remains "sceptical".

The SCC surveyed 70 organisations and found serious gaps in the advice available and a lack of support for agencies involved.

Deirdre Hutton, its chairman, said: "Consumers need access to good quality advice if they are to make informed decisions. This applies to education just as much as it does to any other aspect of our lives. Many barriers exist, such as low levels of awareness among consumers and a low priority given by schools and local authorities to independent advice."

National bodies report increasing demand for expert advice on education with bullying, special educational needs and exclusions among parents' list of concerns.

But Mrs Gillespie said she did not favour a consumerist view of education based on the right of complaint. "People find sources of advice if they are that desperate. At the end of the day the problems have to be resolved at school and local authority level. An individual grouping cannot resolve a problem. All they can do is advise parents about the steps they need to take."

Mrs Gillespie admitted there was a need for an education ombudsman if conflicts could not be resolved.

"Independent Education Advice Provision for Parents in Scotland" is published by the Scottish Consumer Council (0141 226 5261).

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now