Review of parental involvement legislation praises work to engage parents in the children’s education but the SPTC warns a ‘significant re-think’ needed
Parent’s night – Flickr creative commons
Moves to engage parents in their children’s education have been largely successful but need to go further, a post-legislative review by the National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) has concluded.
A new report into the impact of the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 contains a number of recommendations for government.
These include more opportunities for parents and staff to work together, more flexibility at work for parents to attend school events and an extension of the requirements to cover the early years.
“Parental involvement in a child’s learning has positive outcomes for the child, their family and their school, and helps to raise attainment,” the report said.
NPFS chair Joanna Murphy said: “The National Parent Forum of Scotland hopes that this review will allow all of us to move forward together, and continue to keep parents at the heart of their child’s learning.
“I will continue to strive for a political and legislative environment which champions the voice of parents.”
Education Secretary John Swinney welcomed the report and said its findings would feed into his review of school governance, which will report next month.
“We want to see a focus on how our education system is supporting parents to help their child’s learning at home, from the early years and throughout school; to overcome the obstacles they face and understand the powerful difference they can make,” he said.
Neil Mathers, Save the Children’s head of Scotland, said the report “allowed us to celebrate the really positive efforts schools and nurseries have taken over the last ten years to help parents to support their children’s learning.”
However, membership organisation the Scottish Parent Teacher Council said the ambitions of the original act were “not yet delivered comprehensively”.
Director Jeanna Brady said: “While family engagement is probably one of the most significant levers available to teachers to impact on achievement and attainment of young people, our school system can only leverage this impact by adopting an approach which is all about working with families and builds engagement into school improvement.
“That requires a significant re-think across the system from teacher education and leadership development, parental engagement strategies and partnerships within and beyond school boundaries.
She added: “While parents generally do not want to run schools, they do want their voices heard and, most importantly, to be recognised as partners in their children’s education.”
A rumoured new regional approach to education governance could provide new structures for schools to share resources and build communities, she suggested.