Demos, the left-wing think-tank, has just published some important research which shows how effective parenting classes in schools can be; raising attainment, improving behaviour, building self-esteem. "It's time to be honest about what good parenting involves..."
makes a number of recommendations but the most salient ones about schools are these (I quote directly from the report):
Develop a second tier of screening for primary school children
When children first arrive at primary school, a diagnostic screening tool should be used to assess their emotional and behavioural development and cognitive and linguistic development. In cases where parents have not engaged with early years services, it is likely that some children may have problems that have previously gone unnoticed. This assessment should provide an opportunity to engage parents and identify if there are any problems in the parent–child relationship or in other areas of the parents’ lives that the school could provide support with.
Ensure that every primary school has a parent liaison officer
The previous government created the expectation that schools should offer support for parents as part of their responsibility for supporting children’s broader social and emotional well-being as well as their academic learning. Primary schools should continue to provide a designated member of staff such as a parent support adviser or learning mentor who is responsible for engaging parents, identifying any support needs. To support this role,
parent liaison officers should be trained in an appropriate evidence-based parenting programme.
Develop a parenting ‘booster’ class
Government should commission the development of a parenting class aimed at parents when their children first start primary school. This would focus on helping parents to maintain and update good parenting approaches as their children grow up and would provide an important opportunity for the school to establish a relationship with parents early on. Schools could train either their teachers or parent liaison officers to deliver evidence based programmes, or could commission this service from voluntary and community sector organisations.
The report goes on to stress the great results of the excellent programme, Families and Schools Together
, FAST, which is really helping families of all backgrounds live happier and more productive lives.
Why was none of this in the recent Education White Paper? This government wants to give "pushy" parents the money to segregate their children from poor ones, but is doing nothing to address the real problems that are there.