§ Mr. Hunter
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the means and methods whereby he has sought, and is seeking, to increase parental influence in schools.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
The Government firmly believe that schools are the poorer if they fail to harness parents' natural and special interest in their children's progress. The Education Act 1980 made important advances in allowing parents a properly informed role in the school admissions process. It also introduced elected parent governors. Parental influence and involvement will be taken substantially further in the Education Bill currently before Parliament. The parent voice on school governing bodies will be strengthened while the scope for the local education authority to appoint the majority of governors is removed: at the same time, a clear framework of functions will be provided, within which the governing body can play its full part in running the school. Additionally, new arrangements for the governors to hold an annual meeting for parents will provide valuable opportunities for the parent body as a whole to become more closely involved in their children's education.