ASCL comment on Sutton Trust’s Parent Power report

13 September 2018

Commenting on the Sutton Trust’s report ‘Parent Power 2018’, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“The reason that families use various tactics to get their children into certain schools is often that other schools are stigmatised by a punitive accountability system which labels them as underperforming. These judgements make it more difficult for them to attract leaders, teachers and pupils, and traps them in a vicious circle from which it is difficult to escape. We need a new approach which is less harsh and more supportive, enabling sustainable improvement and ensuring every family has access to a good local school.

“Requests for voluntary contributions have increased because schools are so cash-strapped. This is a sign of the severity of the funding crisis caused by the government’s under-investment in schools. Funding per pupil has fallen in England by about eight per cent in real terms since 2009/10, according to a recent report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Schools are very conscious of guidance on voluntary contributions, which states that it must be made clear there is no obligation to make any contribution, and that parents must not be made to feel pressurised into doing so.”