Annual Parents' Meeting Consultation

The current purpose of the Annual Parents’ Meeting is to provide parents with an opportunity to discuss the governors’ report and how the governing body, head teacher and local education authority have discharged their functions. At the moment, section 43 of the 1998 School Standards and Framework Act requires every school to hold an Annual Parents’ Meeting every year. The regulations made under it set out in considerable detail the precise purpose of these meetings and how they should be run. The regulations include who can vote, how resolutions put forward by parents should be dealt with and a great deal more, including the handling of parental resolutions. We acknowledge that in the past Annual Parents’ Meetings have been over-regulated. These regulations have been drawn up after balancing concerns about the unnecessary burdens on schools expressed by heads, teachers and governors about the meetings against the rights of parents to hold governing bodies and head teachers to account for their management and stewardship of the school. The Education Act 2002 should make the meeting more attractive to parents as the purpose of the meeting in future “is to provide an opportunity for discussion of the manner in which the school has been, and is to be, conducted, and of any other matters relating to the school raised by the parents of registered pupils.” This makes it clear that the agenda can be directly influenced by parents. The Act removes all procedural requirements governing the Annual Parents’ Meeting and schools will now be able to run these meetings to suit their local circumstances. The regulations will deal solely with the circumstances under which governing bodies will be exempt from holding an Annual Parents’ Meeting in any particular year. However, whilst we want to ensure that parents have an annual opportunity to hold the school to account, we do not want that requirement to be more burdensome than absolutely necessary. This consultation invites further suggestions on the circumstances for which the requirement to hold a meeting could be relaxed, so schools that have a good record of parental involvement in consultation and decision making, and have already given parents the opportunity to have their say, will not have to hold an Annual Parents’ Meeting. Of course, the exemptions will not prevent schools from holding an Annual Parents’ Meeting. They would, however, provide more freedom for schools if they wish to take it, while maintaining parents’ rights.

Contact Details

Ian Alderson
Department for Education & Skills
Tel: 01325 391182
Email:   Ian.alderson@dfes.gsi.gov.uk