A primary school in Nottinghamshire, has caused a stir by grading parents from A to D on how well they support their children – the worst offenders were then called in to the head’s office.
Greasley Beauvale Primary School claims that the controversial decision has pushed up educational standards across the board.
But some angry parents have rejected the concept as ‘ludicrous’ and said teachers should be focused on the children instead of judging the parents.
The marking system looks like this and can be affected by parents attendance at parent’s evenings, school plays or extra-curricular activities.
Parents are clearly unhappy with the new system, some saying:
‘I try not to take notice of it, but it really irritates me that they are sat in the staff room judging us all and giving us marks too.
‘It’s unfairly shifting responsibility onto parents when it’s what teachers are paid to do.
‘Those parents who work nine to five won’t have time to have as much input as, say, stay-at-home mums who have the time to contribute more and go to more school events.’
The scheme began in 2011 and apparently it has led to parents taking more interest in their children’s education. To begin with 20% of parents were in the D-Grade category, and that has now been decreased to just 2%.
Headteacher Donna Chambers says children of parents in groups A and B do far better than those whose parents in groups C and D.
And just to cap it off, Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw praised the model as ‘inspirational’ in his annual report on November 24.
As someone who has sat on the both sides of this kind of argument, (teacher & parent), I can’t help but feel sympathetic with the school. Personally, I think it’s a great idea to motivate parents to get involved in their child’s education. I think the important factor here is that there are always circumstances that require further consideration and the one size fits all parent league just can’t work for every individual family. Factors that need careful consideration include single parent families, families with both parents needing to work full time, families with children in different schools, parents of children with English as an additional language, parents that lack confidence in their own abilities, families with members with additional educational or medical needs etc etc. That’s quite a list to factor in to the scoring system.
Of course, there are also questions behind how exactly the school decide on the grades given, although, I imagine the staff have a system in place.
This isn’t about being judgemental, as many parents of the school feel. It’s about encouraging parents to support the school to do the best they can for every child. I’ve been a teacher, I wasn’t judgemental, but it is blatantly obvious to spot the parents who are highly involved (sometimes too much) and those who don’t get involved with school life at all. The sad fact, is that so often, children’s education is negatively impacted by parents & family life.
I commend anyone (or school) trying to solve this issue, and the stats that the school have gathered, show that this parental grading system is working, is motivating parents and ultimately, is having a positive impact on the children. Isn’t that what we all want. Happy, motivated children achieving the best they can in a loving, supportive and caring learning environment.