Thursday, 8 May 2008
The debate about parent power in schools is all too often limited to the questions of admissions and school choice. And though those are clearly important - the government should do more to enable parent promoters to get heard, for example - there is another important way in which parents can be powerful - in helping to ensure that their child achieves their potential. Contrary to the ill-tempered outburst by Chris Parry yesterday, there are a growing number of good state schools. And one common feature is the way they use individual pupil data to set challenging goals. A part of that process increasingly involves regular engagement with parents; as new research today showed, that is better done through informal one-to-one meetings and information on the internet rather than traditional parent evenings. With so much data, teachers can provide regular objective updates on progress and potential. This was an important part of the 2006 education act - where a minimum of termly information was required of schools - and it is good that Ed Balls is so actively promoting it.