Abstracts: March 11th, 2009

Findings from research by the Department for Children Schools and Families revealed that most parents presumed that school standards were generally declining and the Government had subsequently pledged funds to mitigate this problem. They were also unaware that there was a role for parents in raising standards.

Parents generally felt they lacked any sort of power to affect change and raise standards in the physical school environment, particularly as the schools seemed huge and overwhelming. Most felt their responsibility and power was at home supporting their children with studying and more generally with life skills and behaviour.

All parents also rejected the concept of supporting the expansion of more successful schools. Most seemed to fear standards would slip dramatically if the ‘good’ secondary school was expanded.

The research also highlighted barriers limiting the role of parents in raising standards. There is a major time constraint with many parents unable to imagine how they would fit this in and they feared being constantly asked to do more things. They also lacked a knowledge of the education system and because they struggle on a basic level to support with homework, they could not see how they possibly could make a difference in the classroom.

The report on Raising Standards is available from DCFS. http://publications.dcsf.gov.uk/eOrderingDownload/DCSF-RW083.pdf