Queensland’s teaching numbers are set to increase substantially with a model being suggested by Education Queensland.

That is, of course, if you count a call to parents to play a bigger role in the education of their children.

Parent body P&Cs QLD welcomes the idea, developed in recognition of recent research showing that children learn much more from their parents than their teachers.  P&Cs QLD position is that “it is the parent’s responsibility to be the educator”.  QLD Principals argue that the move would counter the apparent shift in responsibility from parents to schools.

State schools are being told to consider an instructional framework that involves running training and developmental courses for parents and to invite them in as guest speakers.

Other initiatives include practical literacy and numeracy activities that involve parents, providing parent literacy and numeracy workshops and sending staff into homes to explain jargon used in schools.

Jane Astonfield, a mother of 14 year old twins from Brisbane thinks the initiative is an interesting catalyst for discussion, but seriously questions the validity of the scheme.  “In one breath, there is all this talk about creating a national curriculum, which, from all accounts sounds very prescriptive and pre-scheduled, and now they’re talking about a scheme where parents are being asked to direct the learning?  That doesn’t make sense to me.

I believe that children who succeed at school are often the ones who have good support at home and I agree that there are probably a lot of parents out there that could become more involved, but school has changed so much in just one generation that unless you’re a teacher yourself, it’s really difficult for a parent to know how to help their child.”

Some may argue that the system has merit because it recognizes that education doesn’t just take place in school.  Kelvin Beattie, a member of the Queensland Teachers Union says that the framework is about “valuing parents as part of their children’s education journey and we need to realise that while schools can do a lot, they can’t do it all.”

Rob Caulfield, father to 16 year old Aaron and 12 year old Emma agrees that parents can be great role models for their children but says that he is teaching his children that “ultimately, it is up to them how they succeed. The parent community at our childrens’ school really is in partnership with the teachers.  Our kids have a wall planner at home where they organise their own study routine and we can see at a glance where their pressure points are.  It’s a great tool that not only keeps them on track but engages the whole family and in doing so, helps to provide support when it is needed.”

Queensland Association of State School Principals executive, Heather Baddersley stated that there has been a shift over the last 15 to 20 years where there “is an expectation that schools will teach your child how to swim, how to behave and provide sex education; all responsibilities that were once clearly the domain of parents.
Parents are the first teachers in a child’s life and that responsibility continues throughout your child’s education,” she said.

Daniel Forster, a Queensland teacher and father to 3 teenage boys agrees that parents are always going to be role models for their children but is concerned that the framework will be misinterpreted by many parents.

“I think what some schools do really well is communicate with their parents and engage them in the learning process by involving them with tools that assist their children. This framework isn’t intended to replace teachers with parents and expect the parents to teach content and fundamentals.  What it does do is set out a framework so communication, partnering and parent involvement is more effective and wider spread.”

Redtick Education have developed a set of resources that schools can purchase for their students and parents or recommend for their parent community that assist schools with precisely this challenge.

Our resources are designed to enable students to learn more about their own learning style, assess their own behaviour and then help them to determine their own routines and manage their time accordingly. As students progress and focus on their journey towards achieving the goals they set for themselves, we find their confidence develops and with that a sense of accomplishment and maturity.