Local Authority Joint Statement
Key Priorities on Parental Involvement and Engagement, 2018 - 2021
The following priorities for local authority collaboration have been agreed by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and by the Association of Directors of Education. The priorities identified in this section of the plan will shape the areas of focus for the local authority network in the coming three years. It reflects the vital leadership role that local authorities, both individually and collectively, will continue to play. The Scottish Government, CoSLA and ADES are grateful to the cross-authority parental involvement officers network for their work to develop the content in this statement. The statement applies to the entire 3-18 framework and, unless otherwise stated, should be interpreted as applying to both schools and early learning and childcare settings.
Goal A (Representation): Strengthen parental representation in the life and work of early learning and childcare settings and schools
Local authorities will seek to ensure that parental involvement officers are identified in every local authority, either as dedicated roles or as part of a wider role. The officers will aim to take forward parental involvement and engagement in an effective and co-ordinated way across the local authority. They will have an opportunity to contribute to broader local authority guidance, plans and activities relating to parental involvement, parental engagement and family learning. They will promote parental involvement and engagement and family learning through multi-agency meetings and work in partnership with the local National Parent Forum of Scotland representative and other parents.
Parental involvement officers will continue to support Parent Councils, parents, practitioners and leaders with a programme of training and information. We will maintain a database of Parent Council contact details to enable sharing of information to support them to fulfil their role.
We will work together to assess the range of models for a parent and/or Parent Council umbrella groups, set up and share expertise on the various models and ensure that umbrella groups are appropriate to local circumstances as per the wishes of parents. Where such a group already exists, we will ensure they are determined by parents needs and are sufficiently flexible to give all schools the opportunity to be represented.
We will explore possibilities for proportionate representation of parents and committee voting rights, with advice and support from committee administration officers and senior managers. This will be done with the agreement of elected members and in line with local decision making.
We will ensure there is an appropriate process in place to recruit parent representatives and provide advice and support to enable them to fulfil their role.
Goal B (Collaboration): Expand opportunities for ALL parents to collaborate at every level of the education system
We will enable parents to participate in shaping key policies and budget decisions. We will support the involvement of parents on Education Committees. We will support schools and early learning and childcare settings to engage with parents to develop improvement plans, Pupil Equity Funding expenditure and the development of policies.
We will continue to support parental involvement in recruitment of senior management and head teacher posts by providing training, supporting parents through the process and supporting schools to involve parents in the recruitment of senior posts at school level in line with legal requirements.
We will support cluster meetings at a local level, according to the wishes of parent representatives.
Goal C (Communication): Improve communication with parents and families
Goal D (Information technology): Support early learning and childcare settings, schools and parents to exploit the opportunities provided by information technology to improve parental involvement and engagement
We will provide support in relation to the appropriate use of
social media, and timely, appropriate communication, advising on
both methods and content, using plain English and
Goal E (Volunteering): Widen opportunities for parents and families to volunteer with the school or early learning and childcare setting
We will support and encourage early learning and childcare settings and schools to recruit volunteers, advising on issues such as Protecting Vulnerable Groups membership. We will provide guidance for staff on supporting volunteers. We will help in the development of role descriptors and guidelines for volunteers, drawing on experience from community learning and development colleagues and third sector partners.
Goal F (Parental Engagement): Improve support to parents and families to help them to engage with their child’s learning and development
We will continue to share examples of good practice in parental involvement and engagement between schools and early learning and childcare settings, via parent conferences, at regional level and nationally through the local authority network of parental involvement officers, Connect and the National Parent Forum of Scotland.
Goal G (Family Learning): Increase the opportunities for families to access evidence based family learning opportunities and programmes
We will work collaboratively with Family Learning teams, community learning and development teams, schools and early learning and childcare settings to ensure shared understanding of family learning. We will aim to develop a coordinated programme of evidence based family learning, sharing learning activities and supporting parents to engage in their children's learning.
Local authority guidance to schools on Pupil Equity Funding will seek to reflect the aim that funding streams may be used in a wide variety of ways, including activity to support parental involvement and engagement in learning.
Goal H (Equalities and Equity): Work together to address barriers that limit parents’ involvement and engagement
We will support and challenge Parent Councils to ensure they are inclusive and represent the demographic of parents. We will signpost Parent Councils and schools to support organisations who can advise them in equalities and inclusion - such as BEMiS, Families Need Fathers, Fathers Network Scotland, Families Outside.
We will share practice and approach to further improve parental involvement and engagement in relation to specific groups and circumstances, including the arrangements to support effective communication to separated parents.
Information about support organisations will be shared amongst the network of local authority parental involvement officers.
We will prioritise cross-local authority collaboration on areas where parent organisations have identified where good practice could be shared between authorities, and we will work collaboratively with other organisations on sharing this practice
Goal J (Skills): Enhance the skills associated with parental involvement, parental engagement and family learning amongst practitioners
We will facilitate career long practitioner learning opportunities for local authority staff, particularly for newly qualified teachers and probationers. We will continue to share good practice between schools, locally, regionally and at a national level.
Goal K (Parents as leaders): Build the capacity of parents, drawing on their expertise and supporting them to be involved and engaged in their children’s learning
We will ensure that our local parental involvement and engagement strategies consider parents needs for advice, information and support.
Goal L: Ensure that parental involvement and engagement are fully reflected in strategic policies, improvement activity and inspection processes
We will develop comprehensive, effective parental involvement and engagement strategies.
We will ensure that improvement actions on parental involvement and engagement are contained in local authority National Improvement Framework and Attainment Challenge plans and in local Pupil Equity Funding guidance.
We will ensure that parents are included in relevant local authority policy development groups and arrangements for self-evaluation at school and local authority level, ensuring that the appropriate "How Good is Our School" or "How Good is Our Early Learning and Childcare" challenge questions are taken into account.
We will support and challenge early learning and childcare settings and schools to involve parents in the development of improvement plans, policies and plans to engage parents in their children's learning.
Goal M (Evidence): Improve the evidence base
We will gather and share evidence of effective practice in parental involvement and engagement from self-evaluation focus groups, surveys and other school and local authority level activities.
We will gather evidence both qualitative (views, feedback, evidence of impact from what parents say) and quantitative (data, statistics, satisfaction figures).
Goal N (Funding): Provide appropriate levels of funding for parental involvement and engagement at national, regional, local and school level
We will provide funding support for Parent Councils, as a direct payment, by arranging Public Liability insurance, or as support in kind such as free school lets, copying or administrative support.
We will work together to share practice on parent-related funding arrangements, including the various criteria and policies that help to determine the levels of funding provided to Parent Councils.