I’ve been a bit slow catching up with this topic, but it is one that is close to my heart and I find myself agreeing with education minister Jim Knight (that in itself is quite a feat).
Last week, Mr Knight gave a talk to academy school leaders and in it he stressed the important role that parents have in their children’s academic success. He spoke of the fact that parents pass on their own “negative attitudes to education” to their children and that these attitudes have, in turn, been passed down by the grandparents. As a result, generations of children are being told that there is no point in trying to succeed at school.
He pointed out that the worst problem for this is in the poorest areas, but that there are cases in which work prevents parents from helping their children succeed. He wants a focus of education to be on the parents and to help raise their aspirations for their own children. “In some of the most challenging areas, negative attitudes to education have been fostered over generations, and passed down to children at school today,” he said.
I find this really interesting – I have wanted to set up a parents’ forum in our school in which parents have somewhere where they can discuss their children’s education and where they can express their opinions about the school and make suggestions for improvement. I would then like to develop this into a means of discussing how to help your child succeed socially and academically, and to include parenting discussions. I think that it could be really successful and could help links between parents and the school (which are good already, but there is always room for improvement). For me, the issue is time. I don’t have it at the moment, and I know that with these things it is no good as a governor just having the idea, but that you have to be prepared to put your money (or at least your time) where your mouth is.