You tell the parents that it's a partnership between pupil,parent and school. And then the school decides how that partnership will operate .
When it suits you , you'll roll out the " it's the pupil's responsibilty to remember /tell the parent not the school's " , when you fancy you'll deploy the old " but if you were worried you could have contacted the school ", ( ignoring the fact that the parent won't have known that DC hasn't actually completed that piece of coursework , is socially isolated at school ,not revising at school but playing computer games ,missing mentor appointments ,not attending after school classes and hasn't a clue whether it's the DOL ,HOY ,HOH , post 16 co ordinator ,pastoral support ,form tutor or whatever to contact ) .
IME school's aim to exclude the parents as much as possible .
In our school the Governing Body is a secret society. No one knows how anyone got on to it as there are no elections, nominations or selection criteria. No one knows what they do as they never publish minutes or meet with parents.
MoreBeta - same at DC's school . Also won't publish list of staff emails - obviously they follow a format and I can usually work them out ,but not always ,if I don't know first name . And some of the SLT ( have had to learn what all these acronyms mean ,school doesn't realise/care that their use may baffle people ) are less than gracious when receiving an enquiry . They respond with " I think so and so deals with this " ,no offer to forward on your behalf .
The problem is often one of time not deliberate unhelpfulness. As a maths teacher I taught about 200 students every week. Geography, languages etc may teach double that. Whilst we want to answer questions and help parents, there is only so much time in the day. If a child is a minor issue (about 30 per week) I don't have time to do much more than write a sentence in planner. Making a phone call home can take 39 mins by the time I have looked up Number, found a free phone ( there are often queues at break and lunch!) left a message for patent who is out and then tried again as it is virtually impossible for them to ring me back!). I can only do this for most serious issues. Email is easier but due to the litigious nature of some parents my last school had strict policies. If you put something in writing it can be used as evidence etc and it is so easy to badly phrase something which leaves it open to interpretation. We had to have all written communication with parents (including emails) checked by a senior member of staff before we sent them out.
I think that it is a combination of lack of time and the fact that many parents only want to be told what they want to hear .... If it is something not so flattering it is invariably the teacher's fault.
I can understand what you mean about using in evidence and also being too busy . But schools should use less of the spin and be more honest about their inability to work with even the most understanding ,genuinely supportive but rightly concerned parents . It's not helpful to give the impression that structures are in place ( pastoral team ,vertical tutoring ,houses etc ) when in fact everyone is too stretched to contact a parent when something is going wrong . I believed the hype and it gave me a false sense of security - I thought things must be ok as all staff were so quiet and unconcerned ,thought I was just a worrywort . But of course in reality the staff are firefighting and I should have been jumping up and down to get their attention .
Let other parents be aware - especially if your DC is not a trouble maker - you're going to have to really SHOUT to get anyone's attention .