The DeHavilland Blog

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Focus on parents in the UK

The UK came out with a new plan for its schools last week, and I’ve finally had some time to read over it. On the surface, it’s exciting stuff – what really caught my eye was the way in which they’ve put parents practically at the center of the reform process. (You can access the report here.)

Titled “Higher Standards, Better Schools for All – More Choice for Parents and Pupils,” this report proposes a number of things, including:
  • Putting parents at the center of school reform, increasing the information they receive, instituting a formal complaint/concern system, and allowing them to take a lead role in setting up Foundation schools (like a charter school in the US)
  • Leaving high-performing schools alone, more or less
  • Stricter rules for discipline, giving teachers more authority and parents more responsibility
There is a very high priority throughout this report on the involvement of parents, with the government very focused on providing them with both information and a voice in local schooling. This is very exciting stuff: I’ve often thought that there’s a similar need in the US for increased parental engagement, including more information, more authority, and more responsibility.

We'll see how this plays out: already there are people criticizing this plan, focusing on the idea that lower-income parents will not get involved, and that the plan effectively reduces the power of local authorities. We'll see how things shake out, but the fact remains that increasing the role of parents in education cannot help but be a good thing.

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