West Suffolk: Group to work with parents to boost attainment

Patricia Warby

Patricia Warby

A group looking at education in west Suffolk have said they want to work with parents to improve nutrition and create better partnerships with schools.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s educational attainment task and finish group was created after a similar scheme was launched in Forest Heath following concerns about GCSE results that were below the national average.

Initial findings from the St Edmundsbury review will tell councillors of the importance of having partnerships between parents and schools while supporting nutrition and fitness. Patricia Warby, spokeswoman for the St Edmundsbury group said she believed educating parents on good nutrition was key to building on educational attainment.

She added: “We know that lots of children do get sent to school without any breakfast or anything. I do think children need to have good nutrition rather than just being sent off to school with a packet of crisps etc. The feeling was that we need to educate the parents more – that the children need to be got up in time to eat the breakfast and so forth.” She said the council was also looking at how to reduce the stigma of free lunches to increase take-up.

Mrs Warby said at this stage the council was trying to “flag-up ” issues that will be worked upon in the coming months and years. She added: “It’s all very well saying that you’ve got to educate the parents, but how do you educate the parents? If someone starts coming into your home saying, ‘You want to do this and this’.

“It’s the same with the letters about obese children; you have to tread very carefully.”

The report Mrs Warby will present on June 3 states that nutrition will be considered in a strategy formulated by St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath District Council.

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Last month, Robin Millar, the Forest Heath cabinet member for families and communities, said that he wanted parents to become much more involved in their children’s education.