Promoting parents' interests

4th July 1997 at 01:00
The National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations has tried to strike a dignified posture during the process of inquiry by the Charity Commission in the face of press interest.

As Jeremy Sutcliffe rightly observed (TES, June 13) we are still patiently waiting for the report.

However some of the remainder of his article is factually inaccurate and in consequence the assertions he draws are misleading and wrongly represent the honest commitment of thousands of hard-working parents and teachers in contrast to the inflated representation of less than a handful of discredited individuals.

There is no argument between reformers and traditionalists within the organisation. The titles are misnomers and bear no relationship to the activities or people involved within NCPTA.

We are a broad church; within our membership are all types and categories of schools from the wide spectrum of education in this country.

At federation and national level there is a resolve to improve the services to our members and that involves changes to our structure and management processes. Consultation has taken place and reform is under way. Doubtless the Charity Commission report will assist that process.

There has been no argument in recent months about the process of change - one can only assume that it's not what you do, but the way that you do it - that achieves results!

Both the article and your leader comment make suggestions for a future parent body and how it might function.

I would urge you to look away from the difficulties you report on and examine where our charity members are and what they are doing.

We already discuss issues at PTA meetings in schools all over the country; we have parent seatsrepresentation on many education committees and work in active partnership with local education committees. We are in regular contact with the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, the Office for Standards in Education, the Department for Education and Employment, teacher bodies and governor groups.

To fail to recognise this energy, enthusiasm and commitment is to do a gross disservice to valuable individuals striving to support our children through their school years.

Parents' involvement in education is essential and to discredit the leading organisation working on their behalf does not assist the movement toward parent partnership, but fuels the cynical voice of those who have long seen the ascendancy of parental involvement as a threat and something to be resisted.

We are impatient to receive the Charity Commission report so that we can put our house in best order and continue to work in the best interests of parents and their children.

JUDITH WOOD, National chairman, NCPTA, 2 Ebbsfleet Estate, Gravesend,Kent

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