Dr Janet Goodall, lecturer in education leadership and management at the University of Bath, and a leading authority on parental engagement in education, said that while parents’ evenings serve a purpose, they could be done better. There is a legal requirement for schools to report to parents and provide at least one opportunity a year for parents to discuss their children’s progress with a teacher. Disentangling parental involvement from socio-economic factors such as income and qualifications, and a parent’s own experience of school, can make it difficult to establish exactly how effective parents’ evenings are in reality. Dimitra Hartas, associate professor at the Centre for Education Studies at the University of Warwick, believes that a failure by mothers or fathers to attend parents’ evenings is not necessarily an indicator of their investment in their child’s education. In a career spanning 25 years in secondary schools, Sarah Owens has reported to literally thousands of families during parents’ evenings.