Among other questions, survey respondents are asked whether teachers should be made available to parents at regular, set times outside of school hours.
APC president Shelley Hill said that parents are entitled to ask for information about their children.
“Parents want to encourage and protect their children. That’s natural. It’s perfectly legitimate to ask for information about your child’s progress and wellbeing at school, and to be able to discuss any issues with teachers,” Hill said.
“Yet there’s been no end of criticism of parents in the media recently. We’ve been variously labelled as pushy, helicopters, lawnmowers, incapable of saying 'no', and blamed as the cause of all the problems in Australian schools. Literally.
“While inappropriate behaviour is never okay, friction comes when there’s a lack of, or breakdown in communication and trust, from both sides.”
Parents taking the survey are also quizzed on what channels teachers use to communicate currently, what channels they would like teachers to use, how open they feel teachers are to them, if they have ever wished they had more opportunity to participate in their child’s education and if they think schools should assign a dedicated staff member to work with parents.
The APC is a national federation of groups representing the parents of students at Catholic and independent schools.
The group has previously advocated for the preservation of public access to NAPLAN data and for “stability” in relation to non-government school funding.
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said that the government is interested to hear parents’ views.
“Parents know their children better than anyone so their feedback is vitally important to help further improve our education system,” Tehan said.
“Our government wants to hear from parents about their experiences and where they think education can be further improved.”
Hill said that there is a need to look at how the dynamic between parents and teachers can be strengthened.
“We would like to identify what’s working and what’s not working,” she said.
“We want to know how welcome parents feel, how schools share information and if that works for parents. We’re looking for feedback on what parents want to speak to teachers about, the quality of information they receive and whether parent teacher interviews are effective. Everyone is encouraged to detail their insights as comments.”