STUDENTS
13/09/2011 07:10 BST | Updated 13/11/2011 05:12 GMT

Parents Want More Information On Schools, Says Pearson Report

Parents feel they are being shut out of their children's education and given insufficient information about their progression, a new survey has found.

Participants in a report conducted by a family support charity said they were not receiving enough detail from schools, including emotional well being and bullying.

Parents also said they wanted more meaningful, regular and comparable data of schools and pupils.

Yvonne Hines, 43, a mother of two from Wembley, London, told the Huffington Post UK: "You need more information than just how your child is doing academically. It’s about how your child is growing and developing in terms of confidence, self esteem and how they interact with other children."

The report, conducted by Family Lives, found 60 per cent of parents with children at secondary school wanted information about pupils' progress, and not just final results. Nearly half of parents wanted more information on the way bullying and poor behaviour is managed, while 44 per cent wanted social and emotional development information.

The high profile so-called 'Tory Darling' Katharine Birbalsingh has previously voiced her concern about schools lack of accessibility. She told the Huffington Post: "Schools are shut to the outside world. They are on lockdown. Parents have no idea what goes on inside those closed doors, and no idea how their child is really performing. Schools need to open up and let parents get more involved in their children's education."

Parents are also calling for the ability to act on any concerns they might have. More than three quarters of parents interviewed want to be able to trigger Ofsted inspections if they had serious concerns over teaching standards.

Rod Bristow, president of Pearson UK - the company which commissioned the report - said: "This research underlines that parents really want to play an active part in education - we must think beyond one-way transmission of information and more about a dialogue: a conversation between schools and parents."

Some 97 per cent of parents said quality of teaching was "very important" compared to 87 per cent rating exams results as "somewhat important".

Education commentator Fiona Millar, who helped carry out the report, said: "It is clear parents see schools as more than places where their children simply get academic qualifications. They are hungry for information about a much broader range of issues.

"Over the last 20 years the school accountability system has given parents much of what they want, but that system needs to develop in different ways and parents voices should be carefully listened to as part of that process.”

Mrs Hines added: "I understand that schools must manage the flow of people coming in but I think they must accommodate the need for parents to come in to the school or chat to teachers."

But some feel parents should not have automatic rights to access schools whenever they please.

A teacher from an inner-city London school, who did not want to be named, said: "In today's society, there are so many dangerous people around it would be foolish to say parents can come in whenever they want. Parents of our pupils take comfort in knowing people can't just simply stroll in. It would breach safety regulations and could put children at risk."