New research from an educational charity has found that although three quarters (76 per cent) of parents want to have a say on a range of school-level issues, only just under a fifth (18 per cent) of parents of children in local authority maintained schools strongly agree that their school listens to them. For schools in multi-academy trusts (MATs) this drops to one in ten. Furthermore half of those surveyed said their child’s school should be more accountable to parents than they currently are.

The findings come from the annual parent survey of charity Parentkind, which is now in its fifth year. The survey, of 1500 parents and carers from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, investigates parental attitudes towards issues that affect and matter to them in schools. Half of respondents said that their child’s school listens to their views, but only 27 per cent believe local authorities or MATs did so. Under a quarter (23 per cent) think central government listens to their views.

The survey also found that parents’ understanding of school governance models was patchy, with over 90 per cent of respondents saying that they had heard of an academy, but only just over half (51 per cent) feeling they would be able to explain what one is. Awareness of MATs is lower with less than half (49 per cent) of respondents saying they have heard of them and only one in five (19 per cent) being able to explain what they are.

John Jolly, CEO of Parentkind commented on the findings, saying: ‘Parents are clearly interested in sharing their views but the complexity of our school governance models has led to blurred lines of accountability and confusion over how to be able to have a voice and contribute their ideas. It’s worrying to see that parents have considerably lower levels of trust - beyond the school gates - in those responsible for delivering a first class education to our children.’

Parentkind website: www.parentkind.org.uk

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