Parents ‘abdicating responsibility for their children’

UK Telegraph 04 May 2008

Parents are “abdicating their responsibility” by leaving children in school for up to 10 hours a day, according to a leading head teacher. Some mothers and fathers “dump” pupils at breakfast clubs and pick them up late in the evening because of the demands of work, said Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers. Britain’s so-called “back to work culture” – which has also prompted many parents to place children in nurseries from a young age – risked undermining family life, he said.

Under Government reforms, so-called extended schools open from 8am to 6pm, providing “wraparound” childcare to help mothers return to full-time jobs. Around 10,000 primary and secondary schools in England now offer breakfast clubs and after-school sessions. But Mr Brookes insisted teachers should not be turned into surrogate parents. He said: “Some parents are abdicating responsibility for their children. They dump them early in the morning at school and are late picking them at the end of the day. There is definitely a lack of care.”

…The comments come just 24-hours after the president of the NAHT insisted that parents should be paid to stay at home and look after their children instead of being forced to return to work. Clarissa Williams said the current benefits system “entraps” vulnerable families – leaving schools and nurseries to bring up children.