Partial support

7th June 1996 at 01:00
THE PRIMARY SCHOOL-HOME FILE

Edited by Graham Reeves, Primary File Publishing, 61 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8TL.

Annual subscription Pounds 49.50 Supporting teachers in their daily work is a laudable aim for a resource pack, especially if it focuses on informing parents about educational issues, and encouraging their involvement in their children's education. The Primary School-Home File is for headteachers with material for parents, governors and support staff.

In the first issue, the Practical Help for Schools section offers useful guidance on starting parents' associations. The model constitution will save much time, but the certificate templates are rather banal.

The pack cites the Office for Standards in Education in support of its homework material; but it has to be said that OFSTED's handbook is very clear that homework which is set should be relevant to, and reinforce and extend class work and should be followed up by the teacher. It is difficult to see how the photocopiable sheets, unrelated to classroom work, and unmarked by the teacher, fit this framework.

It is also asserted that the homework material may be used as part of a special needs individual education plan. In fact these plans should relate to learning objectives which are specifically designed to meet the needs of individual pupils and not reliant on published sheets unrelated to individual pupils.

The section on advice to parents is better quality: good advice is given on legal issues, for example, a parents' guide to the special educational needs code of practice.

"What happens When . . ." is a series of useful descriptions of normal but infrequent events within the school context, such as contact with an educational psychologist.

It was probably wrong to include a section on medical issues; it might have been preferable to have explored curriculum matters in greater depth. The overview has a patronising tone. The same could be said for the next section - activities in the car. It just does not fit within the remainder of the material and makes demeaning assumptions about parents and children.

The pack fulfils its intention to inform parents about educational issues moderately well.

Its aim to encourage parental involvement is less convincingly achieved.

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