Home school agreements

(20 Posts)
HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Mon 17-Mar-14 15:58:57

What is the point of them?
Are they 'enforceable'?
What if the parents choose not to sign them?

tiggytape Mon 17-Mar-14 16:14:33

What is the point of them?
To set out expectations on both sides.

Are they 'enforceable'?
They will contain a mix of things. Some will be legally enforceable eg attendance rules. Some will be enforceable as part of the schools behaviour policy whether a parent agrees with that policy or not eg homework and uniform rules. Some will be requests eg requesting parents attend parents' evening and read school reports.

What if the parents choose not to sign them?
Refusing to sign does not absolve you from many parts of the agreement. The parts that are legally enforceable remain legally enforceable. The parts that relate to behaviour and other policies remain enforceable eg homework and uniform sanctions will still be applied to children whose parents who refuse to sign the form – the school does not need parental permission to enforce these policies. The request elements of the form will be at your discretion - nobody will come and drag you to parents' evening against your will. However most schools hope a parent will work with them and go into discuss any part of the agreement that concerns them.

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Mon 17-Mar-14 16:47:43

To set out expectations on both sides.

Not my expectations: I have no say in it.

And the enforceable aspects remain enforceable whether or not I sign.

It seems to me that they are quite pointless.

LongPieceofString Mon 17-Mar-14 17:18:20

I thought they were just something Ofsted like to see but a waste of time other than that...

morethanpotatoprints Mon 17-Mar-14 17:58:16

The parts that relate to behaviour and other policies remain enforceable eg homework and uniform sanctions will still be applied to children whose parents who refuse to sign the form

If there is some part you don't agree with, you can have this over turned and they can't punish your child. They can try, but when you repeatedly tell them you have not agreed to this, they soon back down.
They aren't God.

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Mon 17-Mar-14 18:55:06

I wonder what proportion of parents sign them?

tiggytape Mon 17-Mar-14 19:03:41

morethanpotatorpints - If you are basing this on personal experience a school may well compromise on certain issues especially when it risks outright hostility eg a parent turning up to try to drag children out of detention and a poor child caught in the middle.

However, you are wrong to say they cannot enforce uniform and homework rules that you don't agree with. No school is required to get individual parental consent on these matters (or many others).
They can issue detentions in fact, continual flouting of rules such as those relatins to homework and uniform can lead to exclusions (moreso for secondary school age but uniform policy can still be enforced using sanctions at primary age).

A school sets many policies and it is then totally entitled to enforce them. There may be a time when parents have some input into this decision making process but only as a whole group eg via governors. Schools don't enforce different rules for different children based on what their mum says should happen eg Sophie gets a detention for not wearing her tie but Peter doesn't get one because his mum never signed anything abot weraing ties and is fundamentally opposed to them!

TheGruffalo2 Mon 17-Mar-14 19:05:42

"they can't punish your child. They can try, but when you repeatedly tell them you have not agreed to this, they soon back down" hmm.
So when a child repeatedly tells a teacher to f### off, disrupts lessons, deliberately hurts other children we should just pat them on the head if parents don't want them punished. With no additional needs just "my mum says you can't tell me what to do".

Sounds like a reception parent who told me their DC must never hear the word "no", as it would crush their artistic temperament!

No, H/S agreements are not worth that much, but it does set up expectations on both sides. Someone mentioned (maybe another thread)that they didn't have input so it wasn't an agreement because only the school that drew it up. I didn't have any input in my contract and it is a legally binding agreement. Plus we can't personalise every agreement depending on what the parent wants ... that way chaos lies with dozens of different expectations and agreements.

TheGruffalo2 Mon 17-Mar-14 19:07:51

Almost all of ours are returned with parental signatures.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 17-Mar-14 19:11:01

Tiggy

I am basing this on personal experience and when I took mine out of detention other parents followed.
It caused the school to change the homework policy.
Whether they can enforce it or not is irrelevant when parents don't support them.

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Mon 17-Mar-14 19:18:09

I would prefer to receive a document that said, essentially, "This is what you can expect of us, and this is what we expect of you." Without it being presented as an agreement or contract for me to sign.

tiggytape Mon 17-Mar-14 19:19:03

Sounds like a reception parent who told me their DC must never hear the word "no", as it would crush their artistic temperament!

All children are individuals and each will come from a family holding very different opinions and values. These cannot all be consulted on let alone incorporated in the school rules

At every school there will be a mother who'd have them all in straw boaters, sitting in silence and doing 3 hours of maths homework given half a chance.
And they'll be other mothers of the "don't crush spirit by preventing him bashing someone with the wooden trains exploring the physical world" variety too.

At school they one of 30. For some things their individual needs will be of paramount importance but on issues such as 'everyone has to wear a green jumper' or 'everyone has to sit down at circle time or lose golden time' there is no room for boater-mummy or train-mummy to say they want different rules applied to their own child because of their own personal beliefs on discipline, the importance of green jumpers or the negative associations of a delayed punishment!

noblegiraffe Mon 17-Mar-14 19:22:14

Schools don't need parental permission to issue detentions.

tiggytape Mon 17-Mar-14 19:23:14

morethan - it sounds like there was a genuine problem
I am not saying schools always make the right decisions just that they are allowed to enforce policy. There isn't an agreement in the sense of schools asking parents to consent to anything. Whether they agree or not, schools can set and enforce rules.

However, that doesn't mean parents (especially if most of them feel the same way) cannot raise issues, ask for changes and get things reviewed. Parents don't have the right to change the rules for their own child just because of a personal objection to something but they absolutely do have the right to raise things of concern and even campaign to get changes made.

intheenddotcom Mon 17-Mar-14 20:43:17

"they can't punish your child. They can try, but when you repeatedly tell them you have not agreed to this, they soon back down".

Yes they can. They can enforce behaviour sanctions, homework, uniform etc.

Sheneverdid Tue 18-Mar-14 11:53:29

Her I completely agree with you. Over the years I have noted that schools seem to of converted into businesses rather than a service IYSWIM?. Headteachers are managers, Deputy heads are assistant managers. The first time I received a letter from the deputy head at dc's school signed assistant manager it left me scratching my head thinking I had dropped my Dc off at Tesco rather than school.

The way I see it is that most policies are there to cover themselves so aren't worth the paper they are written on, as it says above they will enforce whatever/whenever they want regardless of whether we sign or not.

In the past Ds wasn't getting the additional support he should of been at school and when I was rude enough to point this out our relationship broke down. Some months down the line Ds started to refuse to do homework/read/get up for school because of the above and they were quick to pull out their 'policies' (which I had never seen before therefore had not signed) and what was expected from me to cover themselves, so I dug out some policies to show what was expected of them.wink

capsium Tue 18-Mar-14 12:11:27

They are posturing.

IMO they add very little in terms of enforcing policies. For some policies there are laws which deal with the issue others are negotiable in terms of inclusion and the fact you cannot issue responsibility quite so neatly when dealing with a child's education.

Homework for example should be differentiated according to the educational needs of the child. Parents cannot enforce that it is done. Additional social and emotional needs come under the bracket of SEN so then there is the issue of inclusion if homework does not take account of this.

Behaviour policies should also be shown to be inclusive.

Signing one does not affect your rights as a parent, if any additional needs come to light a school still needs to do all they can to be inclusive. Really not worth worrying about.

lougle Tue 18-Mar-14 12:23:53

The law is being changed soon, so that Governors of schools do not have to produce a Home School Agreement.

"Home-School Agreements
We plan to remove the requirement for governing bodies to adopt a home school agreement. This would remove an administrative burden on the governing bodies of maintained schools." AgreementsWe plan to remove the requirement for governing bodies to adopt a home school agreement. This would remove an administrative burden on the governing bodies of maintained schools. Link

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Tue 18-Mar-14 12:47:01

A good idea. One item less of record-keeping for the school. And as the policies need to exist, and to be made clearly available to every parent, then all they need to do is issue them as part of every pupil's induction.

None of this quasi-choice signing nonsense.

chicaguapa Tue 18-Mar-14 13:03:38

they were quick to pull out their 'policies' (which I had never seen before therefore had not signed) and what was expected from me to cover themselves, so I dug out some policies to show what was expected of them.

I did something similar. I felt they weren't keeping to their side of the agreement so I refused to sign it. I don't suppose it made one iota of difference to them, but a two-way partnership has to work two ways. It's not just the parents that need reminding.

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