The UK’s first parent to parent social platform found two thirds of primary and secondary school parents don’t know the name of their child’s school friend’s parents. Fathers were nearly three times less likely to know. Three quarters of parents don’t feel as involved in their child’s school life as they would like to be.
A recent study has found that many parents are increasingly remote from their child’s social world at school. Modern work and life pressures are weakening the school gate community, where long lasting friendships between parents and families are often created.
Classlist, ‘the world’s first virtual school gate’, commissioned a survey of 1,540 parents and discovered that two thirds of parents (71%) can’t name their child’s school friend’s parents. Fathers struggled the most.
When asked why they didn’t know, more than three fifths (61%) said it was due to their child having ’multiple friends’ whilst a third (35%) said it was because they never drop off or pick up their child/children from school.
One unexpected finding was that nearly one in ten parents (8%) said they never discuss school with their child.
Parents of secondary school-aged children were less likely to know, with 74% admitting they didn’t know other parent’s names.
Classlist’s free mobile-friendly service for connecting parents has seen demand take off with more than 500 schools signing up since the summer. Classlist was created by mums and friends Susan Burton and Clare Wright after experiencing in person the difficulty in linking up with other parents. It recently raised over £900,000 in crowdfunding investment, and its Board is led by former Whittards, Tie Rack, Jack Wills and Heals Chairman Will Hobhouse.
Susan Burton, co-founder of Classlist, said:
“This striking survey shows how difficult it can be to connect with other families – who can play a major role in your child’s social life. Individual exam results and attainment are important, but the wider school community also deserves attention. Classlist’s service makes it far easier to build and grow parent communities”
Clare Wright, co-founder of Classlist said,
“This survey shows parents trying to juggle the responsibilities of modern life. Work and other pressures mean it’s a struggle to get to the school gate and meet other families. OFSTED’s new metric on ‘parental engagement’ is very welcome, and some of Classlist’s tools should help schools improve this.”
Classlist aims to connect parents in a world where they spend less time at the school gate than ever before. Classlist’s free, mobile-friendly service enables parents to get to know one another personally through organising social and fundraising events, lift-shares, playdates and birthday parties. Alongside social planning, the platform lets parents to communicate about homework, manage lost property and post classified ads.
Parent Teacher Associates and Class Reps are major beneficiaries, with the platform saving them weeks of effort through instant calendaring and ticketing of events; sharing newsletters, and finding volunteers. Most Classlist sites are managed by the school PTA, who also authenticate joiners. The school itself has limited involvement or liability. Parents can simply search for their school name at Classlist and once authenticated, join their community.
Classlist differentiates itself from existing broad-based social networks through a strong emphasis on security, moderation and management. It also has a multitude of purpose-built tools designed to help parents and Parent Associations carry out everyday school related tasks.