BBC News – Parents not schools boost exam success, study suggests.

This article on the BBC website caught my eye this morning, confirming something that I’d always believed and seen throughout my career.

I’m lucky now, owning and running a tuition centre with my wife Sally, the vast majority of parents are truly supportive of their child’s education. It’s why they come to Kip McGrath. They’re not pushy, just supportive.

The progress of children who have supportive parents is greatly enhanced. Children love it when their parents take an interest in their schoolwork.

I worked for over 14 years in what was described as a “sink” school, in a disadvantaged area in Kent. Most parents came from a background where their experiences of school were not great, they often viewed schooling with either a mix of derision and suspicion or as free day care. After my initial horror and shock (my last teaching practise had been at a selective boys Grammar School in Kingston… spoiled by the fixtures at Public schools, grounds tended by full time groundsmen, and the parents who provided all the cricket teas…) I couldn’t really blame these parents.

They had already been let down by the system, in an area of high unemployment, high drug use and low aspirations, they often couldn’t see that life might be any better for their children.

As a school we struggled, however the minority of children who had supportive parents always did well. I was always amazed that they did, but it did show that for all the similarity in backgrounds, the same schooling, parental support was the biggest factor.

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