SCHOOLS are urging the Government to develop a national strategy to get parents more actively involved in their children’s education.

The call comes amid head teachers’ concerns at the number of parents who are “disengaging” from their children’s education at a time when the Government is driving tougher standards.

Schools North-East, a charity representing schools in the region, says the issue is most acutely felt at secondary school level where a mix of issues impacts on the level of engagement.

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Mike Parker, director of Schools NorthEast, said: “The Government is focused heavily on tinkering with the education system, spending huge amounts of money overturning school structures, changing exams and tweaking performance measures in pursuit of better outcomes.

“However, little focus is placed on the importance of a strong support system around the pupil and the school that a parent can provide.

“Research by Professor Charles Desforges of Exeter University, an expert on parental engagement, suggests a significant effect on pupil achievement throughout the years of schooling.”

He added: “We want the government to step up and take notice of how detrimental this is to the education of children in the North-East, and for their development through both primary and secondary school.

“It is a huge issue for schools in the North-East, with heads regularly reporting that they struggle to get parents involved and supporting their children through their school years.”

Mr Parker said head teachers in the region believed the previous experiences of parents at a school had an impact on how involved they are with their own child’s education - particularly if they are attending the same school.

He said: “In some cases, I have heard of parents actually refusing to cross the school threshold after their experience there, even when the school is an entirely new building or even has a new name.

“This is the difficulties that our schools are facing on a day-to-day basis, and we need this to change.”

There is a disparity between primary and secondary level, with parents more involved in early years compared to education later in life.

Schools NorthEast says it has found, many are struggling with the challenge of a tougher new curriculum.

Mike Parker said: “All parents need to see education as the key to a bright future for their children, not as something to be feared or ignored.”

The charity’s annual summit is at St James’ Park, Newcastle, today.