Jacqui Smith, an Education minister, said the contracts would also help to raise standards by promoting the importance of homework and good school attendance. Schools must publish home-school contracts this term and ask parents - and where appropriate children - to sign them, although refusal to do so should not influence decisions on school admission.
The contracts are intended to improve partnerships between teachers and parents by setting out what each can expect of the other in a child's schooling. They are expected to indicate the standard of educational attainment at which a school is aiming and to explain its "ethos".
At the same time, the contracts will set out a school's expectations on regular attendance, discipline, behaviour and homework. But parents' campaigners have been angered by the Government's decision to delay a requirement on schools to run and publicise a complaints procedure for parents, originally due to come into force at the same time.