Comment on the Education and Skills Committee's Inquiry into Attainment and Achievement of School Children Experiencing Poverty Report

12th July 2018

Connect welcomes the Education and Skills Committee’s report into attainment and achievement of school children experiencing poverty. As set out in our manifesto, poverty is affecting many families and children: we know this has a direct impact on outcomes for children. We cannot accept this situation in our wealthy country.

We’re glad to see the Committee acknowledge the role of Parent Councils in supporting schools to close the attainment gap, however we are disappointed the committee has focused attention on fundraising activity. The purpose of a Parent Council is to improve links between the school and all parents, and to represent parents’ views. They should not be seen as a source of income for schools or a way to plug the gaps left by inadequate funding from local authorities. As our evidence to the committee shows, over emphasis on fundraising can actually put pressure on low income families through constant appeals for money and drive them away from school-based activities. 

We strongly agree with the important message around home and school partnerships, the importance of breaking down barriers and building strong relationships between families and schools. Clear and respectful communication is a vital starting point to providing families with the support they need.

Connect is grateful to the 394 parents who responded to our survey which helped inform our submission to the Committee’s inquiry. They told us what they thought could and needed to be done, but also the good work already going on. You can read our submission here, and our survey report here