Brilliant Club

Labour Party Conference: Parent Power

10 Oct 2023
The Brilliant Club hosted their second panel event at the 2023 Labour Party Conference this morning, Parent Power: What do parents and carers want to see in the world of education?

We welcomed the following panellists:

Chief Programmes and Communities Officer at The Brilliant Club, Susie Whigham kicked off our event with a question on the importance of parental engagement and what the government can do to help more marginalised parents to support their children’s education.

In response, Anne Longfield OBE spoke on the importance of supporting all parents with their children’s education and empowering them to be part of that change: ‘It’s policy peril, from my point of view, to ignore parents…they are a great asset when it comes to supporting children in education.

Anne also spoke about the idea of a ‘parent charter, or a parent promise’ as a way for the government to ‘speak to a lot of people who feel like they’ve been locked out of key decisions.’

Meg Price from Public First was back on the Brilliant Club panel this morning, sharing more recent parent polling data. The results show that over 70% of parents wants to be involved with, or have some influence over, their child’s next steps in education. 41% of parents also believe that it will be harder for their child to attend university than it was for their generation.

Meg went on to note the difficulties that parents face when lacking information around higher education: ‘If parents can’t understand student finance, or explain it to their children, that’s quite a barrier.’

The Brilliant Club’s CEO Anne-Marie Canning, who helped found Parent Power, a network of parent and carer communities across the UK, spoke about how her mum was key in helping her to understand how to engage parents: ‘[she’d] been a powerhouse of university access since I had been first in my family to go.’

Patrick Obafemi, a Parent Leader from Knowsley Parent Power, spoke on the importance of strong relationships between parents and schools when it comes to their child’s education: ‘If the parents and carers aren’t involved, it will be difficult for the children to reach their full potential.’

Patrick went on to highlight how children need to be supported by the folks around them as, ‘If children can be exposed to success stories, to role models around them, they can understand the opportunities available. They can see that they can achieve what they want to achieve.’

Our final panellist Ryan Wain, Executive Director, Politics, at the Tony Blair Institute, spoke on his experience as a first-generation university attendee and noted the gap between the ‘common’ investment in children and the ‘rare’ investment in parents.

Looking forward, Ryan shared the Labour Party’s plans for education and parental engagement, which will be ‘heavily involved with technology’. He noted that ‘technology allows us to personalise experiences. For parents it means they’ll be able to understand what education experience will work best for their child.’

And that’s a wrap on The Brilliant Club at the 2023 Labour Party Conference in Liverpool. But, we’ll be discussing our commissioned Public First parental engagement polling data at our next Friends of The Brilliant Club event!

This will be a virtual event taking place on Thursday 2nd November, 5-6pm with our CEO Anne-Marie Canning as chair and more guest speakers to be announced! Reserve your free spot here.