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Entries in schools (4)

Sunday
May012016

Guide for schools supports inclusion of both parents

Two national charities have been working together to produce a new guide for schools and nurseries to encourage better parental inclusion in support of their children’s education.

 

Helping Children Learn, produced by Children in Scotland and Families Need Fathers Scotland, urges schools to be proactive in building positive and inclusive relationships in particular with non-resident parents.

 

Based on research and evidence, the guide identifies the benefits not only in children's academic attainment but also in their conduct and constructive relationships when both parents are involved in supporting their education even when they no longer live together.

 

Schools are required to draw up a parental involvement strategy and review it regularly to ensure both parents are encouraged and supported to become engaged in their child’s education and also to participate in the wider school community. However the researchers found considerable variation between schools and between authorities in the effort they appear to make to reach out to non-resident parents.

 

The report reminds schools of the current legislation, guidance and policy, and highlights examples of best practice across the country. Good practice case studies are drawn from Prestonpans Infant School, East Lothian and South Lanarkshire Council.

 

Marion McLeod, Policy Manager with Children in Scotland said:We know that in general, with some individual exceptions, children benefit for the active support and involvement of both parents.  This is particularly true in terms of educational attainment. 

We appreciate that often schools or other education bodies might find it difficult to manage differing parental expectations when families breakdown, but we know that the child benefits immeasurably when clear, transparent and constructive involvement is achieved. This is the best practice we must strive for.”

 

Ian Maxwell, National Manager of Families Need Fathers Scotland added:It is ten years now since the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act urged schools to 'work hard' to engage with fathers in general and non-resident fathers in particular and to treat both parents with equal respect. Regrettably, we still hear regularly from some non-resident parents that they have felt excluded from communication around their child’s education, or are made to feel they are causing bother by asking for their own copies of newsletters and school reports. We hope this guide will help schools and education authorities work towards a more inclusive approach, for the benefit of all involved, our children above all.”

The guide has been published to coincide with 2016, Scotland's Year of the Dad – although it is noted a non-resident parent may be either a mother or father.

 

FNF Scotland last year published EQUAL PARENTS - a 'user guide' for non-resident parents to clearing the obstacles to involvement in their children's education.

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..

Friday
Sep282012

National Parent Forum Conference

The National Parent Forum Scotland annual conference is taking place this Saturday, 6th October, at Bishopbriggs Academy.  There are many workshops covering both parental involvement and practical information about the curriculum for excellence. 

The  Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 explicitly identified non resident parents as a group that the school would have to make efforts to break down barriers to encourage involvement. All the research shows that children do better at school when they are supported by both parents. We have seen few examples of active encouragement. 

FNF Scotland encourages non resident parents to become involved in parent councils and other parent forums.

For further information about the conference visit: www.engageforeducation.org