NCPTA still has the respect of the education world

28th November 1997 at 00:00
On behalf of the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations, I seek to correct the series of inaccuracies attributed to our organisation in your paper (TES, November 14).

Sheila Naybour and Pat Clark open their letter by referring to their shame felt at the open meeting and the "wall of policeman" there to greet them. Two constables and subsequently their sergeant attended. Hardly a "wall". Far from fearing open debate or free speech, the NCPTA sought to promote it.

The Charity Commission report and its 34 recommendations have been acted on by the trustees. It has been acknowledged by the commission that the current trustee body of the NCPTA carries the burden of an inherited legacy of problems left by past trustees.

The current trustees are confronting outstanding issues and making great strides to resolve difficulties. The process would be significantly easier had past trustees been more consistent in applying policies and procedures.

The commission report, along with the NCPTA response, has been issued willingly to all associations who have requested it.

I would remind Mrs Naybour and Mrs Clark that the trustees are accountable to corporate associations, not to vocal individuals who fail to be supportive of the members they claim to represent. Four mothers were denied the full rights of attendance offered to 50 or so other delegates, because of their own failure to conform to the approved booking procedure.

It is widely acknowledged within the voluntary sector that there is a shortage of volunteers. Many resort to paid positions; the NCPTA is following this pathway.

I wonder, therefore at the assertion made in The TES (November 7) and repeated in Mrs Naybour and Mrs Clark's letter, that a new network should be formed. One based on year groups that The TES believes will transcend all groups and avoid dominant individuals.

I share the idealistic vision and would wish to be part of the process but as the mother of five children attending three schools, I recognise the reality may fall well short of "an open and consultative network permeating all schools and LEAs". The reality is that many schools are running without fully constituted governing bodies, let alone an additional parent council.

I would assert that far from "forfeiting the respect of the education world", the existing network of NCPTA members, stretching the length and breadth of England and Wales, remains utterly consistent in upholding its objective of advancing education by its liaison with many other organisations.

It is disingenuous to suggest that the views held by NCPTA are only those of teachers. The parents within the organisation readily express their thoughts and work strenuously to ensure parents are heard at every level of our education system.

JUDITH WOOD

National chairman NCPTA Gravesend, Kent

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