We conducted an interview with one of the parents of our school as part of our project "Building a Democratic School Culture", which we carried out under the European Union Programme for Education, Youth and Sport.
First of all, we would like to thank Ms Wiebke Peters for taking part in the interview.
How did you feel about the fact that a project on "Building a democratic school culture" was carried out at your school? What do you think about this topic?
It was very exciting to hear the views and experiences of the other participants. Here in the state of Bremen, we are already very far along in terms of the involvement of the different stakeholders in decision-making, as pupils and parents as well as teachers are involved in the decision-making process, especially through the school conferences. The exchange of our pupils with pupils from the participating countries is an important contribution to promoting the interests of our pupils for different perspectives and democratic structures.
When you look at our school and other schools where your child or children are educated, can you talk about the deficits you see or feel in terms of democracy in schools?
The structures of our schools provide for democratic participation of children and parents in decision-making processes. Only the recruitment of pupils and parents to take on such positions could be improved in my opinion.
Does the school management consult you on decisions made in the school? If yes, do you think this is sufficient, if no, what would you like to say about this?
I feel well informed by our school management. She is also always available to answer my questions.
Do you think that the Parent Teacher Association meetings are held in a democratic environment? Could you give us your opinion about these meetings?
If by these meetings we mean participation in general conferences, then I can say that the meetings take place in a democratic environment. Parents' representatives have the opportunity to learn about the issues that concern the teachers. Moreover, participation in these conferences is very beneficial for decision-making in the school conferences.
Do you think that the involvement or contribution of parents to school governance is sufficient? What do you think can be done in this regard?
In my opinion, parents are sufficiently involved in the school administration. Only the (digital) exchange of information between all parents (i.e. not only parent representatives) among themselves and with the school management and teachers could be improved by creating an appropriate platform.
What do you think school governance should look like in an institution with a democratic school culture? Can you take action in this direction?
In the state of Bremen, school administration is already very democratically organised. By taking on corresponding offices, parents are also able to be involved in the decision-making processes.
Who do you think has the leading role in creating a democratic school culture? The central government, the local government or the school management? Can you share your ideas with us?
Here, all the aforementioned actors need to work together. The central or local government must create the appropriate legal provisions to provide the framework for the democratic school culture. The school management is then responsible for engaging parents and students to participate in the decision-making process.
Do you think that this and similar projects contribute to creating a democratic school culture?
I had the impression that the other participants were already very interested in the democratic structures that are already very far-reaching here in the state of Bremen and will carry these experiences on to their own countries. Therefore, I assume that such events can definitely contribute to the creation of a democratic school culture.
We would like to thank our guest Ms Wiebke Peters for taking part in our interview and for sharing her feelings and thoughts with us.