Parents to get real-time reports of kids at school

If you ever wonder how well your child is behaving at school, and how well they are doing in class – or that they even showed up – you may be just a few mouse clicks away from checking this information.

All parents will have access to regular electronic reports on their children’s progress, achievement, attendance, behaviour and special needs whenever they want in just two years time – going far beyond the traditional annual school report, schools minister Jim Knight announced this week.

Opening BETT 2008, the world’s largest educational technology trade show, Knight said all secondary schools will be expected to have ‘real-time’ reporting systems up and running by 2010 and all primary schools two years later – many schools already run these systems.

Other systems could include text alert systems, school intranet, email or even video-conferencing.

The government’s schools technology agency, Becta, will be guiding schools to adapt their existing technology and advise them on how to improve it.

Mr Knight said: “We know from schools around the country that if families are going to be involved in their children’s education really effectively, they need a good two-way flow of information – a channel which is more efficient and more frequent than a once-a-year written report, or a letter home when there is a problem or something to celebrate.

“Real time reporting will deepen the school-parent relations and is not a substitute for regular personal contact with teachers. Effective technology systems can actually significantly cut the staff workloads – but it has to be to be manageable for individual schools and meaningful for parents.”

He also underlined that home computer and internet access goes hand in hand with protecting children and young people from inappropriate or potentially harmful material. Last September, the government asked Dr Tanya Byron to make clear recommendations on this area and she is due to report in March.

The government has invested ?5billion in schools ICT since 1997, with another ?837million earmarked over the next three years – leaving it with the highest levels of embedded technology in classrooms in European Union and one computer for every three pupils.

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