IT goes without saying that the overwhelming majority of parents are incredibly conscientious when it comes to the education, and wellbeing, of their children, and will be affronted by today’s global survey which suggests that mothers and families in other nations, like the United States, Italy and India, are even more committed than them.
Though the study by international education charity the Varkey Foundation concludes, in fairness, that UK parents are among the most positive about the quality of teaching that their child receives, the findings are nevertheless a timely reminder that learning, especially in the early years, begins at home, and not at the school gates as some clearly presume.
Education is at its most effective when it is a three-way partnership between teachers, parents and pupils – and the best-performing schools are invariably those where parental involvement is encouraged, whether it be ensuring that homework is completed on time or mothers and fathers helping out with extracurricular activities.
Yet, as parents juggle their employment and family responsibilities, perhaps there are not, in some instances, enough hours in the day for some to read a bedtime story or talk to their children about their school work. This is regrettable – these early years do matter – and television, computers and mobile devices are no substitute for one-to-one interaction. However, the biggest challenge is reaching out to the small minority of families who do not engage with the education of their children, either through ignorance or because they struggled, for whatever reason, with their own schooling. Without being judgemental, this is where the greatest problem rests when it comes to the power of parents.