What do you think: ‘Norfolk parents should demand more from schools’ - Dame Rachel de Souza on lessons learned from China trip

PUBLISHED: 11:46 10 March 2014 | UPDATED: 14:10 10 March 2014

Elizabeth Truss and Rachel de Souza

Elizabeth Truss and Rachel de Souza


Parents should be “much more demanding” of their schools according to a leading Norfolk educationalist who has returned from a week-long trip to learn how maths is taught in China.

Dame Rachel de Souza was speaking after a fact-finding mission to Shanghai, which topped the 2012 international Pisa league table for maths performance. The delegation also included education minister and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss.

Dame Rachel, former principal of Victory Academy in Costessey and now chief executive of the Inspiration Trust of seven Norfolk academies, said she asked Chinese teachers what their biggest stress was. Their answer was “parents”.

She said homework goes back every day, and parents check their child’s grades.

She said: “I think our parents could be much more demanding, making sure that work is marked, and about standards. We have to work as a three - parents, teachers and children.”

According to an analysis of the Pisa tables by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, children of manual workers in Shanghai perform better than children of highly-paid professionals in England.

The findings sparked a national debate about the state of maths education in the UK, although some criticised the methodology of the Shanghai results, where a quarter of pupils in the city did not sit the tests.

See tomorrow’s EDP for more lessons Dame Rachel and Ms Truss have taken back from China.

What do you think? Do Norfolk parents demand enough from their child’s schools? Comment below or email

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