Education Workforce Council

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Tracey Handley: Parentkind - Bringing together home and school

Tracey HandleyAt Parentkind our vision is that the active participation of parents is considered an essential ingredient in the success of our children’s education by society, schools and parents themselves.

Our mission is to tirelessly support and champion all the ways parents can participate in education and have their voices heard. Our ambition is to have more parents involved and engaged in more ways both at home and school. When our name change took us from PTA Cymru to Parentkind we continued to provide the best ongoing support for our members, developing further opportunities to truly place parents at the heart of what we do, as individuals as well as members of parent groups.

We have identified 5 areas of work that we will deliver in Wales with parents and our partners:

  1. Supporting and engaging parents to help them maximise their contribution to their child’s education

    - But how do parents know how to make an impact? By using their ‘Parent Voice’ - and we have plenty of resources and ideas to help parents maximise their impact. Research such as our Annual Parent Survey provides a snapshot of parents' views about a range of issues relating to their child's education and school life. Last year, parents told us their views on school funding and this was further explored when the resulting report was picked up by BBC breakfast news and taken to a wider audience for debate. We provide information to enable parents to engage more widely with schools, policy makers and other education stakeholders via the parent hub on our website, social media channels and welcome packs. We also send regular updates in our e-bulletin that provides information and guidance on becoming more involved, where best of all – the resources are free so sign up now!

  2. Supporting and engaging PTAs, Parent Councils and other parent groups to be as effective as possible

    We are the largest membership body of Parent Teacher Associations and other parent groups in Wales, England and Northern Ireland with over 13,700 members in over 50% of schools. We develop resources and toolkits to enable and empower them to be effective, engaged and, importantly, enjoy their time building school communities and being an integral part of positively influencing the education landscape. The member benefits to these groups include a dedicated support line managed by our Member Support Team who offer guidance and resources for practical support in running these groups and associated activities.

  3. Helping schools to become more parent-friendly

    – And in doing so helping parents to be more ‘school friendly’. We offer direct support to schools through training and resources provided via our ‘Schools Programme’ team. Working in partnership with Parent Councils UK we provide training and toolkits to head teachers, school staff, governors and parents to build successful home-school relationships. Keep your eyes peeled on our website for some exciting new developments here in the new school year.

    We supported the Estyn review process for their recently published report ‘Involving parents - Communication between schools and parents of school-aged children’ 06 Jun 2018. We held a focus group to gather evidence directly from parents about their experiences and asked for positive examples of good practice and general ideas that could be used to inform the resulting recommendations for schools. This is just one of the ways in which we can encourage parents to express their views and support them to use their voice to influence policy and practice with school leaders and other education stakeholders.

  4. Developing new partnerships to reach more parents and schools

    We work with partner organisations to ensure that parents and schools have access to support and guidance for their child’s learning. We have produced joint guidance such as ‘How to Build Effective Home School Partnerships’ with ASCL and NAHT. We promote and signpost useful resources via our website and social media channels such as those produced by Welsh Government in their ‘Education Begins at Home’ campaign.

  5. Championing the role of parents in education and their importance in education policy

    When it comes to how well a child does at school, parents really do matter. According to the Department for Education, parental participation is a more powerful influence on a child’s attainment than family background, family size, or level of parental education. Multiple studies show that parent participation improves literacy levels and enhances every child’s educational experience and outcomes. One study found that:

    “the effect of parental engagement over a student’s school career is equivalent to adding two or three years to that student’s education.” (Hattie, 2008)

Our own research shows that 84% of parents want to play an active role in their child’s education. We bridge the gap between what parents want and how they can best meet their child’s needs.

In Wales we asked our Assembly Members to ‘take the #ParentkindPledge’ as part of our campaign to show their support in considering the importance of parental engagement and involvement in education policy that ‘brings home and schools together’. We were delighted to attract cross-party backing, and for Cabinet Secretary Kirsty Williams to give a supportive speech on the day.

Tracey Handley
Programmes Manager Wales

Further information can be found at:
Twitter: @Parentkind