Parents' evenings can generate some anxiety for both parents and students, but what is the legal position?

For maintained Schools, the legal position is set out in Regulation 6 of the Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005. Prior to the end of the summer term, the Head Teacher has to prepare a report, provide a copy to parents and "make arrangements to enable the recipient of the report to discuss its content with the pupil's teacher, if he so wishes". The report has to include certain information including: achievements in all subjects; general progress; attendance and test results.

For independent Schools (and Academies) the position is different. To meet the standard, "an annual written report of each registered pupil's progress and attainment in the main subject areas taught is provided to the parents of that registered pupil except that no report need be provided where the parent has agreed otherwise." There is however, no equivalent right to discuss the report with the teacher. So legally, independent Schools and Academies are not required, by law, to hold parents evenings.

While this may come as a relief to some Schools and parents, Academies are encouraged to have regard to the protocols in relation to the Pupil Information Regulations. However, it seems for parents of independent Schools and Academies there is no legal entitlement to discuss the report with teachers. This would be subject to the funding agreement for Academies, however, and the contract for independent Schools.