Contracts are not the answer;Letter

20th March 1998 at 00:00
The debate on home-school agreements during the committee stage of the Education Bill was at best confused. Stephen Byers, speaking for the Government, explained that the home school agreement "defines the responsibilities of parents and schools" but "does not place a legal status on the relationship between parents and schools". What happens when the responsibilities are not fulfilled on either side? It is not likely that good relationships will develop.

He also agreed that "we cannot legislate for a relationship" but went on to say that the clause (98) "establishes a framework that will be conducive to a constructive relationship between parents and schools".

Developing good relationships is not easy but needs to be based on principles of mutual respect, sharing of information and ideas and a commitment to regular, open and honest communication. Home-school agreements are not the answer - they are bureaucratic, unnecessary and are more likely to alienate than to bring parents and teachers together in support of children.

Developing home-school policies, however, would enable schools to open up the debate between all the partners - governors, staff, parents and children - and to agree ways forward in a far more constructive way.

MELIAN MANSFIELD. National executive member. Campaign for State Education. 57 Weston Park, London N8

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