Parents must not “abdicate their responsibility”, says Ofsted chief

According to The Guardian, Ofsted chief, Amanda Spielman, is set to chastise parents and ministers for putting too much pressure on schools to shape children’s lives

Chief inspector of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, will state this week that parents must not “abdicate their responsibility” and expect schools to solve all of children’s problems.

Spielman is reacting to the continued pressure on schools to help make major changes to pupils’ lives, including taking some of the responsibility in battling childhood obesity.

She will say that schools “cannot be a panacea” for all social ills and has criticised the fact that some parents neglect the basic needs of their children.

In a speech marking the publication of her second annual Ofsted report, Spielman will say: “Our education and care services don’t exist in isolation from the local areas they serve.

“They are and should be a central part of our communities. But being part of a community means being very clear what your responsibilities are, and what issues, however worthy, can only be tackled beyond the school, college or nursery gates.”

Knife crime will be singled out as one of the most recent – and important – issues to place an additional burden on schools. “Most of our schools are safe, and we fully support measures, including zero-tolerance policies on the carrying of knives, to keep them that way,” Spielman will say.

“But beyond, that, while schools can play a role in educating young people about the danger of knives, they cannot be a panacea for this particular societal ill.

“Instead, preventing knife crime requires all local safeguarding partners to work together to protect children from harm while the relevant agencies tackle criminal activity and bring to justice youths and adults who cause harm to children.”

She will also highlight childhood obesity, describing it as “an issue which sits largely beyond the school gates.

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“Schools can and should teach children about the importance of healthy eating and exercise … their PE lessons should get them out of breath.

“But beyond that, schools cannot take over the role of health professionals – and above all parents. The answer to the obesity crisis, particularly among younger children, lies in the home, and parents should not abdicate their responsibility here.”

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