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Schools: Parents

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of variations in the quality and level of parental involvement in education according to (a) sex, (b) race and (c) income. (253305)

The Department has commissioned research to examine the level of parental involvement in children’s education. This includes a national survey of parents and carers conducted in 2008 which examined variation in parental engagement in learning and education by gender, ethnicity and income. The quality of parental involvement was examined at a broad level, in terms of frequency of help with homework, attendance at parents’ evenings and discussions about educational options.

The Department also undertook research in 2007 which examined the variation in parental involvement in their children’s education according to gender and ethnicity. The quality of parental involvement was not examined in this research; however it did investigate the types of activities that parents were involved in and their confidence in helping their child with homework.

The finding of this research are informing the Department’s new approach to supporting parental engagement and is outlined in the Children’s Plan: One Year On report published in December 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what research his Department has evaluated on the relationship between parental choice and achievement; and if he will make a statement. (253307)

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has evaluated the following research on the links between choice, diversity and standards:

Simon Burgess, Carol Propper and Deborah Wilson (2007): “The Impact of School Choice in England”, Policy Studies, vol. 28, No. 2, 2007

Peterson, P., Howell, W., Wolf, P. and Campbell, D. (2003) “School vouchers: results from randomised experiments”, The Economics of School Choice , ed. C. Hoxby, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Hoxby, C. (2003c) “School choice and school productivity: could school choice be a tide that lifts all boats?”, The Economics of School Choice, ed. C. Hoxby, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press

Sandstrom, F. and Bergstrom, F. (2002) “School Vouchers in Practice—Competition Won’t Hurt You”, IUI Working Paper Series 578, The Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Stockholm.

Ladd, H and Fiske, E (2001) “The uneven playing field of school choice: evidence from New Zealand”, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol. 20, No.1, pp. 43-64

Cullen, J; Jacob, B; Levitt, S. (2000) “The Impact of School Choice on Student Outcomes: An Analysis of the Chicago Public School”, NBER Working Paper 7888, Cambridge

There is no clear evidence that school choice directly affects pupil progress. However, evidence suggests that schools respond positively to competition by raising their standards.