We need parents' evenings

28th April 2006 at 01:00
It was disturbing to read the article "Parents' evenings have had their day" (TES, April 14). Although such evenings may not always be organised in the best way - for parents or teachers - developing a good relationship between parents and teachers is essential for the well-being of children and young people.

Listening to young people themselves is also hugely beneficial as they know best what works for them. This requires ongoing communication and face-to-face discussions.

The comments made about young people and parents are entirely unacceptable.

Schools are not always the most friendly places: meetings are often organised at times that are not parent-friendly, especially for those who work, and many parents have had bad experiences which do not encourage them to take part.

Research has shown time and again that when parents are involved with their children's education then children achieve more, and behave better.

Some teachers may be reluctant to spend time talking to parents, but when they do it is of great value to all concerned. The Steer report on behaviour identified that good relationships were key to improving behaviour.

Positive attitudes to parents bring positive responses. More training for teachers in working with parents is badly needed.

When schools do not include parents, as in academies where parents do not have the same rights to information or access as in other schools, parents become angry and frustrated which benefits neither the school nor young people.

Melian Mansfield Chair of CASE (Campaign for State Education) 57 Weston Park London

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