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Entries in parental involvement (7)

Tuesday
Aug212018

FNFS guide promoted in Government "Learning Together" strategy

The Scottish Government's newly published national action plan on parental involvement, parental engagement, family learning and learning at home 2018 - 2021 includes various commitments to improve engagement of fathers. 

The action plan was launched by Deputy First Minister John Swinney who said that it sets out a vision for parental engagement for the next three years and promises to "raise the bar yet higher", by supporting every parent and family on their "educational journey".

The Scottish Government will work with Fathers Network Scotland and Families Need Fathers Scotland to ensure that all key guidance and training materials relating to parental involvement and engagement are “father friendly”, fully reflect the role of dads, and reflect the principles of father-inclusive practice.

They will also work with local authority partners and parents to consider and address barriers which may prevent separated parents from being involved and engaged.  The Scottish Government will promote the Children In Scotland/Families Need Fathers Scotland  Helping Children Learn guidance on involving separated parents to all schools.

FNF Scotland national manager, Ian Maxwell, says, "We have worked hard over the years both to help separated parents build a productive relationship with their children's school and equally to convey to schools that separated parents are too often an untapped resource in support of their children's learning.

We are delighted that the Action Plan is so clear in its expectation that schools must become more parent friendly, more father friendly and more separated parent friendly. We will do whatever we can to assist in that process.

We will continue to raise with Mr Swinney and with CoSLA the imperative that the system of pupil enrolment forms must be overhauled. They should ensure the contact details of both parents are included and given equal status. The existing practice of giving only a limited list of 'entitlements' to non-resident parents should stop. The practice is not rooted in any educational benefit to the children and is fundamentally discriminatory."

Tuesday
Mar282017

Radio 4 hears how one Scottish school "works hard" to involve dads

From Our Home Correspondent on BBC Radio 4 broadcast an item on Sunday 26th March by John Forsyth about the recent Boys Night at St Patrick's Primary School in Denny. 

He described how the Boys Night, an initiative by the Head Teacher, Anne O'Donnell, and the school parent council, brought lots of dads, grandfathers, uncles and other male carers into an evening of school activities but more importantly makes them feel that they are important to their children's learning.

Listen to the item from 23.20.

 

Wednesday
Feb152017

Government has an eye on schools' engagement with non-resident parents

  • Glasgow Provan MSP, Ivan McKee, raised the issue of the patchy engagement of some local authorities in Scotland with non-resident parents in the Scottish Parliament on February 9th. Answering for the Scottish Government, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney, agreed that research shows the educational benefit to children of the involvement of parents in their learning and anticipates further development of government guidance in this area.
  • The officlal report reads:
  •  Ivan McKee (Glasgow Provan) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government how it ensures that schools communicate with both resident and non-resident parents. 
  • The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills (John Swinney): The Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 imposes a range of duties on local authorities and schools to promote the involvement of all parents in their children’s education. Paragraph 20 of the statutory guidance on the act makes it clear that: “It is important that education authorities and schools do as much as they can to support the continued involvement of parents who don’t live with their children.”
  •  The National Parent Forum of Scotland has been undertaking a review of the 2006 act and will make its recommendations to the Scottish Government in the spring. The Government will consider the forum’s report, including any conclusions that relate to communication and consultation between schools and non-resident parents.
  • Ivan McKee: There is much research that shows that children learn better when both parents are actively involved in their education. Unfortunately, a significant proportion of non-resident parents find themselves excluded from involvement in their children’s school life, often through the poor engagement practices of local authorities. 
  • There is good practice by Western Isles Council, which does not start from the presumption that all children live with both parents. Does the cabinet secretary agree that the issuing of guidelines to encourage local authorities to share best practice would benefit the educational attainment of the up to 30 per cent of children who do not live with both parents?
  • John Swinney: I agree with Mr McKee’s conclusions about the research evidence. The issue is strongly reflected in the national improvement framework, which highlights the involvement of parents in young people’s educational experience as a significant consideration that schools and local authorities should take into account. I am familiar with the good practice that emanates from the Western Isles on the question and I certainly agree that the quality of guidance is important to inform improved practice. 
  • As I indicated in my original answer, we expect a review of many of the issues from the National Parent Forum. I will reflect on that and on Mr McKee’s points, which will inform any further development of guidance by the Government.
Sunday
Nov152015

Minister announces review of parental involvement with schools

Scottish Government Education Secretary, Angela Constance, has ordered a review of the impact and success of current legislation on the involvement of parents in their children’s education. 

Speaking at the annual conference of the National Parent Forum Scotland last Saturday Ms Constance said:   “We know children achieve more at school if their parents are fully involved in their learning. That is why parental involvement has been identified as one of the key drivers for our National Improvement Framework for education.  Our education system has evolved a great deal in the last ten years, with renewed focus on raising attainment across the country, and closing the gap in outcomes between the most and least advantaged children. It is right we review how we support and involve parents in their child’s education, to ensure the law and all related work are fit for purpose and serving parents and children well."

The review comes ten years after the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act was introduced, and will be led by the National Parent Forum Scotland (NPFS).

Ms Constance said:

“The NPFS, who will conduct the review on behalf of Ministers, will speak directly with parents, schools and children to get their views on how parental involvement in education works in practice and how it can be improved. We will also be able to use the review findings to inform the on-going development and implementation of the National Improvement Framework. I look forward to considering the review’s conclusions.”

Ian Maxwell, national manager of FNF Scotland has warmly welcomed the initiative.

"There is a raft of evidence from the UK and around Europe that children do better when both parents are fully involved in their experience at school - not only in educational attainment but also in their broader wellbeing in and out of school.

The 2006 Parental Involvement Act and the Guidance that went with it were quite explicit in placing a responsibility on schools and councils to 'work hard' at engaging with fathers in general and non-resident parents in particular and to ensure that both parents are treated with equal respect if they no longer live together. The experience reflected in our casework is that most schools and most teachers understand that. Unfortunately we still hear too frequently of examples of unjustified and unexplained hostility to some non-resident parents who feel they are not treated equally and who feel they are walking on eggshells with the school in case they are seen as 'difficult'.

We will certainly share our considerable experience with the NPFS review and make positive proposals about improving systems within schools to ensure non-resident parents are recognised in their own right; that communications within school and between school and parents are more explicitly inclusive of non-resident parents (fathers and mothers); and that schools and councils fulfill the expectations set down for them in 2006 that they will 'work hard' to include non-resident parents."

FNF Scotland published  the Equal Parents guide earlier this year, outlining the legal rights for fathers with and without Parental Rights and Responsibilities and suggesting ways to approach the school.

Sunday
Jul062014

MSPs briefed on how schools can involve non-resident fathers

A briefing on the involvement of non-resident parents in their children's education has been circulated to all MSPs, and also publicised in the Sunday Post.

Produced in partnership with Children In Scotland, the briefing outlines the results of FOI requests to all Scottish local authorities, asking about local policy and practice with regard to involving non-resident parents in education.

Only about half of local authorities reported to have specific policies in place on the right of non resident parents to information about their child’s progress in school.  Even fewer had carried out specific initiatives aimed at engaging non-resident parents.

The briefing also gives examples of some good practice found in our survey, and gives MSPs suggestions on how to act on this issue, such as asking for a copy of their local authority’s annual ‘progress report’ on the efforts it has made to engage with hard to reach groups of parents, including fathers and non-resident parents.

Parents facing difficulty in getting information about their children should refer to the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act guidelines.  FNF Scotland will continue to monitor this issue, and the full report of our research will be published shortly and we would like to hear about both problems and good practice..