Parents piqued at Holland Park

13th February 2004 at 00:00
It is not only the relationship with teachers which is under strain at Holland Park school (TES, January 23). The school has obstructed meetings of the parent-teachers association for some months - such that we could only hold our recent annual meeting by hiring a room at the school and communicating with parents through an advert in the local paper.

The association has discussed and worked on issues as important and diverse as toilets, the timetabling of tests and the erection of a mobile phone mast adjacent to the school. Whenever parents have got together there has also been debate about the lack of consultation about changes at the school, about the loss of so many experienced staff, and more recently about results (which are declining rather than improving as stated in your article - students gaining five A* to Cs at GCSE have declined from 38 per cent and 39 per cent in 2001 and 2002 to 33 per cent in 2003).

Parents get involved because they are interested in their children's education and general well-being - and all aspects of a school contribute to this, including how relationships are nurtured. The leadership group has replaced the parent-teachers association with "parents support groups" whose agenda it can keep under its own control. These are described as "the school's chosen forum for support and dialogue with parents". Many parents are asking "how about our choice?"

A participative approach to relationships with parents and teachers is one feature that this school should not be allowed to discard. Indeed, the Government and most local authorities encourage active parent involvement through parent-teachers associations.

The association will carry on trying to ensure that all constituents of the school retain a voice.

Elaine Sheppard Vice-chair, Holland Park school Community Association 55 Burrows Road, London NW10

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