DES Circular 15/77 (1977)

This circular set out the nature and extent of the information the Secretary of State believed schools should provide.

The text of DES Circular 15/77 was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 15 July 2017.

Circular 15/77 (1977)
Information for Parents

Department of Education and Science
London: 1977
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

Circular 15/77
25 November 1977



1. This circular is about the provision of written information for parents. Most local education authorities and the county and voluntary schools maintained by them are already actively concerned to foster communication between parents and schools. One aspect of such communication is the provision for parents in a readily accessible form of basic information about individual schools and about various matters of concern to parents which will be common to the local education authority as a whole or to all the schools in a particular area. The Secretary of State welcomes the arrangements made by many authorities and schools to enable parents to get to know schools and their staffs through visits, open days and a wide variety of formal and informal contacts but considers that the provision of written information is for many purposes equally important. The Secretary of State recognises that the variation between areas in the amount and detail of information made available to parents may to some extent reflect differing local circumstances, but she would wish to encourage the practice already followed in many areas of making information in written form available to parents about the schools their children are attending or may attend and the opportunities available to them, at all appropriate stages throughout their children's school careers, and not only at the transitional points leading to secondary education and post-16 education.

2. The Secretary of State believes that it would be helpful to authorities, schools and parents if she were to set out the nature and extent of the information she considers should normally be made available to parents in written form as and when appropriate in relation to their children's school careers. The provision of adequate information in a simple duplicated or printed form need not involve expenditure on any significant scale: in many cases all that will be necessary is some reorganisation or rationalisation of the resources at present devoted to the provision of information. The sort of information which the Secretary of State considers should normally be made available to parents would include the items listed below; many are specific to individual schools, but some will be common to more than one school or to the authority as a whole, and might best be prepared by the authority:-

i. The name, address and telephone number of the school, the hours it is open and the dates of term times; the address and telephone number of the Local Education Authority and Divisional Education Office.

ii. Characteristics: eg whether county or denominational, mixed or single sex, the age range covered and boarding provision, if any.

iii. Names of the Head, and at least of the senior staff, and also the names and addresses of the Chairman of Governors and of any parent governors.

iv. How parents should arrange to visit the school and the times at which the Head, senior staff members, class or subject teachers, year heads or pastoral tutors are normally available for consultation (bearing in mind the difficulties of working parents and the desirability of contact with the school for both parents).

v. Other arrangements to enable parents to be kept informed of their child's progress in school.

vi. The number of pupils and the number normally admitted each year.

vii. The basis on which places are normally allocated.

viii. Arrangements for transfer between one stage of education and the next, including, where appropriate, details of the course options available in schools, tertiary or sixth form colleges, and in further education establishments.

ix. Any special facilities offered in particular subjects or activities, including facilities for careers advice.

x. Arrangements for religious education and for exemption from it.

xi. (Secondary and upper schools only) Public examinations for which pupils are prepared, and the range of subjects and options available at the time when the information is issued, together with details of arrangements for consultation with parents on these matters.

xii. A brief indication of the normal teaching organisation (including arrangements for teaching children of different abilities), of any special organisation or methods used, and of the school's policy on homework.

xiii. Clubs, societies, extra-curricular activities, including community service, normally available.

xiv. Organisation for pastoral care and discipline of pupils, including school rules and procedures.

xv. Whether school uniform is required and if so the approximate cost; otherwise an indication of the type of clothing which is acceptable.

xvi. Whether any parents', or parent-teacher organisation exists, and if so the name and address of its secretary.

xvii. Local school transport arrangements.

xviii. The LEA's arrangements for the provision of free school meals.

xix. The LEA's arrangements for the provision of free PE kit and school clothing grants.

xx. (Secondary and upper schools) The LEA's arrangements for the provision of educational maintenance allowances and discretionary awards.

3. It is particularly important that parents who are newcomers to this country should be given basic written information, if necessary in languages other than English, about the educational opportunities available to their children. For these parents (and more generally in areas where literacy is low) there should also be adequate opportunities for oral enquiry and discussion.

4. Finally, the Secretary of State hopes that authorities will keep under continual review their arrangements for supplying information to parents about all stages of the educational process, and that parents will respond by co-operating in every way they can. She believes that this will contribute greatly to the forging of closer links between home and school and will have beneficial results for parents, teachers and pupils.


To Local Education Authorities
Governors of Voluntary Aided Schools