In one of my earlier posts where I was exploring the
private school model I described how private schools are able to place conditions of entry on pupils and parents choosing to send their child to that school. I reckon this is one of the most powerful advantages which private schools have over public service schools (I prefer this term to state schools).
In my experience as a teacher, headteacher and now member of the directorate, parents in our schools are exceptionally keen to support their child. However, I wonder if there might be any mileage/benefit in meeting with parents/guardians/carers and their child prior to the child entering the school. In what would would be very private admission meeting the parents and the school representative could outline their expectations, intentions and concerns. An outcome of this meeting would be a much clearer understanding of how the parents can support their child's education and the school, whilst the school would be able to explain what it would do to support their child over the next four to six years.
I don't think there would be many parents who would object to such a meeting taking place – however, some parents might be intimidated by the apparent formality of the meeting so alternative strategies and venues might have to be explored.
But what would happen where parents refuse to participate in such a meeting – an extreme response might be “It's your job to educate my kid, we live in the catchment area, so get on with it”. Now I would have to say that such a response would set my alarm bells ringing. Just what we would do in such circumstances is open to conjecture but I suppose I might have role to play as Head of Education. However, I think we would have to approach such a response in a very understanding and supportive manner – “schools have changed” would have to be our underlying message.
The bottom line is that it would add value to the admission process – by establishing an unamibiguous understanding of how the partnership between school, child and parents would operate. It might also enable the school to put suitable support mechanisms in place for parents who have particular concerns about their child or how they might communicate with the school.
Just a thought?