Every minister has a parent ploy

27th August 2004 at 01:00
So what's new? Parents are to be urged to be more involved in their children's learning and schools are to be more imaginative in how they do it. We have been here before many times but that's the sum of the latest Scottish Executive strategy. Parents are to be reminded of their duties and many schools which are already devising excellent ways to communicate with parents need to tell others how they are doing it.

This is all very laudable and teachers will yawn mightily at the release of yet more pious national statements of intent. If only parents would control their offspring, a partnership on learning would be more meaningful, many claim.

Parents might also yawn broadly at yet another minister commending them to do their bit when, some parent leaders allege, the reality in many schools is that they are regarded as little more than a nuisance to be kept at bay.

Perhaps the difference this time round is the focus on classroom learning and the push on attainment. Parents are not to be a front for a political attack on local authorities and existing structures but an aid to improved achievement. There is no plot other than improved ways to involve parents. That is a pretty simple agenda and we should be thankful there is no raft of new measures, backed by legislation, to compel new approaches.

The hands-off model is to be commended, provided it works.

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