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Should parents do more to support schools to raise attainment?

(14 Posts)
KingLooieCatz Mon 21-Nov-16 17:28:03

So Education Governance Review is asking, among other things:

How can parents play a stronger role in school life? What actions should be taken to support this?

This is because they want to ensure that parents can better support efforts to raise attainment.

We can all read the review document and supply our feedback here:

www.gov.scot/Topics/Education/thegovernancereview

I am struggling to get my head round what they actually mean so it would be interesting, if this doesn't just drop off the page like a stone, if anyone makes more sense of it than I do. Is this a really good thing, or should they recognize that most parents are already at full stretch? Do they want parents to form part of the governance? Or are they saying good governance would promote parent engagement in wider school issues?

TheTroubleWithAngels Mon 21-Nov-16 18:21:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KingLooieCatz Mon 21-Nov-16 18:51:39

Just for badness I've emailed to ask if I can come to the engagement session an hour late and bring my son. Or alternatively is there a session in Edinburgh for parents who work during the day? I'd imagine it's impossible for teachers to engage with msny of the sessions advertised.

TheTroubleWithAngels Mon 21-Nov-16 19:19:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

prettybird Mon 21-Nov-16 22:34:18

I'm busy struggling working my way through this on a Parent Council subgroup. shock

The bit about parental involvement was one the school had been talking about at a recent Parent Council meeting. The dilemma is that the parents that do get involved (eg at study skills evening workshops, which the school runs at the beginning of every year) are not usually the ones that need to be involved confused

Only things we've come up with so far is somehow to work with the school to run such events at other venues - eg libraries, community centres, even food banks. Not sure how practical any of them are.

My notes against the budget question were "Leading question: it's not as if we're going to answer No" hmm

It took me 4 hours to read the document properly and to comment on it - and that was just first thoughts. You also really need to read some of the associated documents to fully understand what they're getting at - or to question the conclusions drawn.

OOAOML Tue 22-Nov-16 14:51:15

Our parent council has for some time been trying to work with the school on booklets - kind of a summary of teaching strategies, helping with homework etc (for example some of the maths techniques are different, and knowing how the children are learning helps parents not to confuse the children if they're trying to help with homework) which is good - but comes up against the usual issues of the school not having a lot of time to help feed into this, and engagement with the wider parent body. And there will always be parents who don't feel able to or just don't want to.

KingLooieCatz Tue 22-Nov-16 21:05:37

Indeed, it's not a long document, but if you're not familiar with the subject, it's not easy reading. And I couldn't answer most of the questions without doing a lot more reading.

And on parental engagement, what with all that research they refer to, surely there is research on barriers to parental engagement and examples of them being overcome? The challenge is not how to engage any parent who has what it takes to read this document

Hats off to dedicated parent council members around the country for ploughing through it.

ocelot41 Thu 24-Nov-16 06:27:46

I feel my school actually requires rather too much parental involvement. DS is only 6 and has about half an hour homework a night. It means we can't do exercise classes etc as by the end of them he is too tired to concentrate. DS is currently being investigated for ADHD and really needs exercise, more than homework!

OOAOML Thu 24-Nov-16 12:47:39

Have you spoken to the school ocelot? Our DS has ASD and we were struggling with the set reading homework a few years back (reading Biff, Chip and Kipper endlessly) because he was just not engaged at all and it was a battle. He also finds reading out loud quite difficult. They were happy for us to read to him (a different book), or him to read on his own.

I know homework has been a bit of a battleground at our primary, with some teachers giving loads and some giving none, and parents up in arms about both extremes. I was speaking to one teacher who said he knows which children in the class will have parents supporting them and which won't, which children will do the homework and which don't. He tried a few approaches around it but was pretty worn down about it all.

ocelot41 Fri 25-Nov-16 07:58:30

Hiya, not yet but maybe I should!

LunaLoveg00d Fri 25-Nov-16 10:17:16

Having sat on committees for pre-schools and PTA and other similar over the years I am convinced that they - whether that be the council, Scottish government or other official body - don't really give two hoots about parental involvement but have to be seen to be asking and tick boxes.

Their documents are always stuffed with impenetrable jargon and buzzwords designed to put people off. If they REALLY wanted to know they would ask "what can we do to get parents more involved with schools"? Using language which is transparent and will generate conversation.

cazzyg Fri 25-Nov-16 12:05:41

Hmm having been a PC chair, we struggled to get parents involved unless it came to budget cuts or parking issues.

Personal experience is that parental engagement drops off as children progress through school years. We tried many things and looked at barriers such as culture, language, times of meetings etc to no avail.

The local authority also paid lip service to parental engagement. Little real attempts at engagement and consultation was a farce.

blaeberry Fri 25-Nov-16 23:30:26

In more deprived communities I don't think much more can be done by the school or parents regardless of funding. In these communities, I believe attainment can only be raised by raising the aspirations and opportunities for the whole community through employment, tackling substance abuse, improving housing, etc and that needs to be done by government not schools.

In terms of parental involvement; if they mean parental involvement in decision making and running the school then parents need to sit on some sort of management board. Anything less is rather pointless.

blaeberry Fri 25-Nov-16 23:41:32

What is it actually a consultation on? They don't make any proposals for you to comment on. The questions amount to little more than 'do you think education is a good idea?' Or 'do you think decisions should be made about education?' Talk about 'giving power to schools' seems to translate into central government controlled budgets and schools taking on more responsibility for non-core tasks while removing local accountability.

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