Education and Adoption Bill

Written evidence submitted by PTA UK (EAB 09)


1.1. Established in 1956, PTA UK is the UK’s leading membership organisation for parent bodies/groups such as Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) and Friends groups.

1.2. Representing the biggest network of PTA fundraisers in the UK, our vision is for every school to have the benefit of a successful and supportive PTA to enhance the educational experience and future opportunities for all our children.

1.3. Dedicated to the development and support of all PTAs nationwide, in the last year we’ve helped almost 14,000 member organisations across the UK raise in excess of £120 million for their local school.

1.4. Our expert advisers provide members with support, advice and wide range of benefits and the latest innovations needed for running a successful parent group in local communities.

1.5. Working to directly enhance the education and futures of all our children, we act as the voice for all PTAs and parents on the issues that matter.

1.6. We know that engaging parents helps children reach their potential at school and drives up achievement, helping bridge the attainment gap and supports social justice but parents currently seem absent from the education agenda. PTA UK is passionate about getting to the heart of what really matters to parents and, through their PTA or related body, support them to play a full role in their child’s school life and education to create better outcomes for all.

1.7. As a national charity, we are the only member organisation for parent groups to reinvest profits in innovating services for parents and schools.

2. Parental engagement in education

2.1. Research into the effect of parents on their children’s educational success is considerable and is only summarised here. In short, this states that parents matter to their children’s education and is important for achieving social justice.

2.2. Parents have five times more influence on achievement at age seven than school. This diminishes as children get older but parents still have more influence on achievement than school at age 11. Whilst school has much more influence at age 16, parents still have some influence [1] .

2.3. Charles Desforges [2] states that "parental involvement in the form of ‘at home good parenting’ has a significant positive effect on children’s attainment and adjustment even after all other factors shaping attainment have been taken out of the equation".

2.4. However, this relationship isn’t just about what happens in the home, "Typically parents and caregivers are a child’s first and most interested teachers. This role does not cease to exist when children enter school; in fact, families play a critical role in the education of their children. Working with the school, parents and caregivers can help create collaborative partnerships that support all aspects of a child’s achievement at school" [3] .

2.5. Research conducted by the University of Warwick goes further, "Parental engagement is a powerful lever for raising achievement in schools. When parents and teachers work together to improve learning, the gains in achievement are significant’ [4] . John Hattie reports that "the effect of parental engagement over a student’s school career is equivalent to adding two or three years to that student’s education". [5]

3. Parents want a say

3.1. PTA UK recently [6] commissioned YouGov to poll 1,000 English parents:

3.1.1. An emphatic 85% told us they wanted a say in how their child is educated

3.1.2. 79% want to support their child’s school.

3.2. PTA UK calls for parents to be involved in a timely way with any developments in a school. Parents should be able to have a say early on in any development, to avoid conflict and misunderstanding and to support them to play a full role in their child’s school life and education to create better outcomes for all.

4. Clause 8 (2): Consultation on conversion

4.1. The risk of this clause is that it undermines the home-school relationship at a time when this is needed to support change and may put the new school structure at a deficit. It signals to parents that their views aren’t to be considered and positions them as unimportant despite the prevailing research that confirms their engagement as important to their child’s education.

July 2015

[1] Sacker et al (2002) : Social inequality in educational achievement and psychological adjustment throughout childhood: magnitude and mechanisms. Social Science and Medicine , 55, 863-880

[2] Desforges : The Impact of Parental Involvement, Parental Support and Family Education on Pupil Achievements and Adjustment (2003)

[3] Larocque , Kleinman and Darling : Parental Involvement: The Missing Link in School Achievement ( 2011)

[4] Engaging Parents in Raising Achievement - Do Parents Know They Matter (Harris & Goodall / University of Warwick / 2007)

[5] John Hattie, Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analysis Relating to Achievement (London: Routledge, 2008)

[6] 29 May to 3 June 2015

Prepared 7th July 2015