If you're not currently teaching, what are you focused on?:
Cultural education brokerage and research
152 Waller Road
How many years have you been teaching?:
1 year teaching, then 24 years running education programmes in museums/galleries and being a consultant
Director of Flow Associates. I've been education officer at Tate, head of learning at the British Library, involved in lots of initiatives to do with creative & cultural learning. Currently a parent governor at the BRIT School. Run one of London's Cultural Education Challenges, called Cultivate, working with schools in Wandsworth and Lambeth.
OK, just to give a bit of background then, for people outside the UK. It's law here that schools must reserve places on governing boards for parents, who are elected by the other parents. Our current Government has just announced that it wants to change that law so that governors are appointed for their skills, and not requiring parents to be elected.
Yes, there's more to explore about different types of event format. Not just fairs & surgeries but events that are really participatory e.g. open space conferences. I could imagine e.g. circles discussing topics like 'creating a healthy daily routine', or 'how to motivate students to do self-led work', or whatever matters most to the parents AND students. There should be a balance between information that is common to all students in a cohort or subject, and interaction that is personalised to the student. Most parent-teacher events tend to deliver the standard info common to everyone in a 1-to-1 situation, which is very repetitive for them and wastes time. That seems to be the key problem.
I believe the parent governor role is vital, to support staff & board to communicate better with parents & students. I believe schools should be nurturing places, rich with conversation, creativity and experiment. I imagine many teachers would feel it's impossible, or just tinkering, to redesign parent's evenings etc without changing the highly pressurised, test-driven system. But I'd hope that opening up, varying and increasing interactions between parents & staff, especially in secondaries where parent involvement drops off, would build support for change. Parents have suddenly got behind campaigns like Rescue Our Schools & Let Kids be Kids because the situation is so critical (in England at least). There is a significant number now who see how stressed teachers are, they see how stressed their kids are, and they want to help. Parents need to be invited in to share ideas on how to help schools thrive, not just how to help their children achieve good grades.