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Last Updated: Monday, 24 October 2005, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
Parents seek 'empowering' voice
Assembly - generic
Parents highlighted children's education as a key concern
Many parents in Scotland feel disengaged from politics and deprived of responsibility, a study has found.

The group Parenting in Scotland (Pas) said its findings showed parents wanted to become more involved in the decisions affecting their children.

Almost a quarter of those questioned did not know who their MSP was and two out of three had never contacted them.

Evelyn Gillan, of Pas, said there was a worrying number of parents who were not having their voices heard.

About 150 parents responded to the poll over the past four weeks and respondents were contacted through ParentLine, a parent's telephone helpline provided by Children 1st.

The survey was conducted as part of National Parents' Week and the findings will be discussed when a group of parents travel to Holyrood to meet MSPs on Thursday.

There is an unhealthy gap between the people making decisions about family life and families themselves
Evelyn Gillan
Parenting in Scotland

It showed that most parents felt they were ill-informed of government changes that affect them and were split on their ability to influence politicians.

About 45% believed they could influence policies while a similar percentage felt they could not.

Parents said they wanted more support for families, more easily accessible information and to be more involved in their children's education.

They suggested a series of practical changes such as the availability of ready support via telephone advice lines and community-based parenting education.

Help with problems such as anti-social behaviour and troublesome teenagers was identified as being particularly important.

Some suggested more intensive forms of support should be available, including counselling for parents and mediation services to help resolve differences between teenagers and their families.

Children's education

Parents also want to be more involved in their child's education and to have greater influence over what goes on in school.

A report on the findings, produced by Pas, said the survey raised questions about the extent to which parents and families participate in the political life of Scotland and, in particular, the decision-making structures of the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Gillan said: "It is worrying that so many parents feel they are not well informed about changes that affect them and do not know how to go about making their views known.

"There is an unhealthy gap between the people making decisions about family life and families themselves.

"Parenting Across Scotland will continue to work with parents and families to bridge this gap and ensure that parents' views are represented at the highest level."

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