Academies: Communication

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th June 2022.

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Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 23 June 2022 to Question 18884, on Schools: Email, whether he has issued recent guidance to academy schools on ensuring that information intended for parents and supplied over email is routinely made as accessible as possible to parents who (a) lack access to a desktop computer or tablet at home, (b) do not have English as a first language and (c) may experience other challenges in opening and reading attachments to emails.

Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 23 June 2022 to Question 18884, on Schools: Email, if he will amend the (a) School Information Regulations and (b) Governance Handbook to ensure that schools use modern digital communications with parents in a way that is (i) effective and (ii) inclusive, especially for those parents who have difficulties using email, reading and opening attachments, and (iii) in line with wider best practice across government; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

The department does not issue specific guidance covering information provided from schools to parents via email. However, we would expect schools to consider the needs of their own parents, and to communicate with them in a range of effective and accessible ways. This includes considering the best way to communicate with those for whom English is not their first language, or who may be less digitally literate.

The department issues guidance to schools and academies which sets out what school level information they need to publish online. This is a requirement for maintained schools in the School Information (England) Regulations 2008 and for many trusts in their academy funding agreements.

As the school information regulations cover what schools must publish on their website, and not what is sent via email, it is not suitable to amend these in order to include making digital communications from schools to parents accessible.

If a parent has concerns about information sent via email not being accessible, they should in the first instance raise these with their school.

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