Time for government to 'step up a gear' to inform parents better

19th June 2009 at 01:00
Too many parents are in the dark about the major developments in education

Too many parents are in the dark about the major developments in education, although they say they are kept well-informed about their own children.

A TNS System Three poll of 1,000 Scottish parents, commissioned by Consumer Focus Scotland, found that less than half knew anything about the flagship curriculum reforms, while three-quarters knew little or nothing about their rights under the support for learning legislation.

It was time for the Government "to step up a gear" so parents were better informed, said Jennifer Wallace, the consumer watchdog's principal policy advocate.

Ironically, even the service designed to keep them informed, the Parentzone website run by Learning and Teaching Scotland, is known to less than one in five (18 per cent).

Nonetheless, the survey also found that parents regarded schools as approachable and helpful in the case of their own children. And there was a marked increase in parents' desire to be part of how their children's school was run: a rise from 2 per cent in a previous survey in 2005 to 11 per cent who were involved in the activities of their school's parental organisation.

Two-thirds of parents in the survey felt satisfied with the amount of information they were getting about their child's education, although 30 per cent wanted more. "Schools shouldn't worry about communicating too much with parents, because there seems to be an appetite for information and involvement," Ms Wallace said.

When things went wrong, there was general satisfaction with the result: 60 per cent felt the school had handled their complaint very or fairly well.

When they were asked how schools could become more accessible, 81 per cent suggested one open day from 8am-8pm every three months, and 80 per cent wanted an informal drop-in session for parents to talk to teachers.

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