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A new drive to involve parents more in their children's education was launched today. ...
A new drive to involve parents more in their children's education was launched today.

Education minister Peter Peacock said research showed that school pupils who regularly discuss schoolwork with their parents perform better than those who don't.

Pointing out that school provides the longest sustained influence on a child's life outwith their family but that children spend most of their time out of school, he added that parents can and do make a real difference to their children's chances by helping them at home.

This school year will see a range of new initiatives for parents, including:

  • Information for parents offering practical advice - for example, how to build on what their children learn at school, support homework and get the best from parents' evenings

  • Support for schools to help them improve dialogue with parents about their children's progress

  • A project to identify good examples of schools involving parents and share these around other schools.

    At Forthview Primary School in Edinburgh, Mr Peacock said: 'As we enter a new school year - a time to look ahead and make a fresh start - I'm signalling a new era for parental involvement.

    'Parents have an absolutely crucial role to play in building a generation of ambitious, confident Scots. I want to build across Scotland the kind of excellent practice I see at this school - strengthening the link between parents and schools and enabling parents to contribute fully to their children's life chances.

    'Everyone leads increasingly busy lives so it is important that parents know the things they can do to help their children while making best use of their time.

    'I want to see parents and schools working together for the benefit of every individual child, recognising the expectations parents have for the ways they want to be involved.

    'And I want to see parents and schools deciding on local, workable arrangements to meet those expectations, just as is happening here in this sch ool.

    'Supporting homework arrangements, for example, can make a big difference. Children who regularly do homework benefit from the equivalent of roughly an extra year's schooling but without the right support and encouragement from their parents, they can find it difficult to get into the homework habit.

    'Parents should be able to get the information they want, know how to seek advice or support, and know what to do if the have a concern or things go wrong.

    'In return they must ensure their children turn up at school on time, are ready to learn and behave well.

    'With schools and parents really working together, every child will benefit. That is what we all want - we owe our children no less.'

    Alan Smith, president of the Scottish School Board Association, said:

    'The SSBA supports the minister and endorses his view on the importance of parents' role in the education of children. Parents will welcome better involvement and practical advice on supporting their children. Successful home-school partnerships help children to learn.'

    Scottish results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (available here, published in June, found that pupils who had regular discussions with their parents scored considerably higher than those students who had discussions never or hardly ever.

    Between the ages of five and 16, children spend approximately 15% of their time in school.

    The Parentzone websitehas recently been further improved and now gives parents details and advice on a wider range of educational issues and a broader, clearer picture of school achievements.

    Research shows that doing homework regularly throughout their time at school has roughly the same benefit as an extra year's schooling.

    The Quality in Education Centre at Strathclyde University is currently producing a series of parent-friendly leaflets offer ing practical advice on how to become better involved in children's education. The topics covered will be decided with the help of parents themselves.

    Later this year, Learning and Teaching Scotlandwill launch the Assessment is for Learning toolkit which will include advice for schools on working with parents to support children's learning.


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