The school’s role is to ensure that your child achieves her or his potential by making sure that they are able to learn the information and skills to take them to, or beyond what is seen as their potential. The potential of each child has been made easier to identify accurately thanks to the wealth of information that we have gained from the standard tests that pupils have been taking in our schools since the 1980s. Such is the depth of information on millions of pupils that we can very accurately predict what a child should be achieving at the end of her or his secondary or high school career, based on their performance at primary or elementary school. The potential can be different for each subject that the child takes and is therefore expressed as an individual ‘raw score’ target for each subject. Most schools also like to add a small amount of additional challenge to end up with the final target for each subject.
As a parent it is your job to encourage and support your child in their learning. You should not be required to teach your child. We also have to make sure that they are ready to learn on a daily basis by ensuring that they are well-rested, well-nourished and have the time and space to complete any tasks given for completion at home. We cover this in more depth in the ‘How to start’ section for parents.
The pupil’s role is to do the best they can by trying hard and asking for help if it is needed. Very few people understand everything the first time. A pupil should never feel ashamed about asking for help from their teacher, but if they do, the parent should be able to act as their natural advocate without feeling uncomfortable.
If your child’s school is taking Parental Engagement seriously, approaching them with a problem about your child should never be an issue to cause you concern.
The aim should be that over the course of their school-life, children take more and more responsibility for their education. However, it should never be left to them to decide when this happens. It should come as part of a natural process and within a dialogue where the school also has a role to play. Parents should always encourage and support. It is easier to step in and support if your child knows that you are there to help without blame.