I’ve just catalogued a collection relating to two connected political groups, ALPAG (All London Parents’ Action Group) and Parents Initiative, who were both active in the 1980s and 1990s.
The central aim of these groups was to levy greater parental influence over their children’s education in response to increasingly more rigid and bureaucratic government policy-making. In particular, Parents Initiative sought to bring together various groups, including many teachers’ unions, so they could work together to promote ‘a well-resourced, publicly funded and accountable education system for all children’.
They pursued these aims through resourceful, grass-roots political activity. Their protest against the proposed 1994 Education Bill was a good example of this. In working with various organisations who shared their aims, they organised the co-ordinated lobbying of the Conservative MPs, with particular focus on the Secretary of State for Education, John Patten. Using this process, they were able to press their concerns over the perceived centralisation of school organisation and funding.
This bill, they argued, also threatened further funding cuts for education which would have a profound impact on school facilities and teaching. One such concern, over the provision of resources for disabled students, is expressed in this flyer:
The campaign was largely realised through the ‘March for Education’ which sought to voice the concerns of these various groups, as well as celebrate the positive achievements in local schools. Below is a flyer which articulates the aims of the event.
This is an example of part of the work these groups engaged in. If you wish to explore the organisations further, the collection can now be viewed at the IOE Archives. It contains large amounts of promotional material for various campaigns, newsletters for both ALPAG and Parents Initiative, meeting minutes and notes on the research carried out by these groups on local education and Government policy. The full details of the collection can be found in our online catalogue, and further details can be found on our libguides site. If you wish to come and view materials, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Parents Initiative, ‘March for Education’ Campaign Statement, Feb 1993 (IOE Archives, ALP/11).
 CASE, NAGM, Integration Alliance and Parents Initiative, ‘Press Statement’, Feb 1993 (IOE Archives, ALP/11).