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

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today