School boards have the power

21st August 1998 at 01:00
David Hill (Letters, August 14) takes the name of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council in vain. He states that "the SPTC accepts a consultative role" and "the SPTC claims that parents do not have the expertise or time . . ." I would like to make it clear that we are reporting the views of the majority of parents, as expressed in the responses to the Government's consultation paper Parents as Partners. We are not putting forward our own opinion.

Indeed, by chance, the response Mr Hill submitted on behalf of his school board fell into our sample. It was lengthy and well argued, but none the less expressed a minority view and however passionately that view may be held, it is still that of a minority.

In one respect, though, Mr Hill is in line with other boards. We found that many boards who asked for extra powers asked for powers which they actually already have.

In his letter Mr Hill urges that "a board might ask the head to provide facts, figures, policies for improvement and progress reports on matters" and then lists a series of possibilities. Boards actually have this right under clause 10 (3) of the original Act.

However, there is a caveat which requires boards to be "reasonable" in such requests. Quite clearly, providing school boards with the type of information which David Hill suggests takes a lot of the headteacher's time, and, in making such requests, the board has to be confident that this is a proper use of the headteacher's time, that it will lead to a genuine improvement in the educational experience of all the children at the school and not merely satisfy some information need of the school board.

If any one would like to see SPTC's full report on the responses to the Government's consultation, we would be quite happy to provide it on request (SAE A4 envelope appreciated).

Judith Gillespie. Development manager. Scottish Parent Teacher Council. 6365 Shandwick Place, Edinburgh

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