Publication - Strategy/plan

Learning together: national action plan on parental involvement, engagement, family learning and learning at home 2018 – 2021

Published: 21 Aug 2018
Directorate:
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Children and families, Education
ISBN:
9781787811133

Sets out a vision for parental involvement and engagement from pre-birth to age 18 and takes account of national and international evidence base and Scottish education system expertise. Provides a national vision but allows for local and community innovation and flexibility.

51 page PDF

844.1 kB

51 page PDF

844.1 kB

Contents
Learning together: national action plan on parental involvement, engagement, family learning and learning at home 2018 – 2021
Parental engagement, family learning and learning at home

51 page PDF

844.1 kB

Parental engagement, family learning and learning at home

We know that parental engagement leads to better educational outcomes. This is why parental engagement, family learning and learning at home is a key theme within this plan. The actions taken forward under this section of the plan will help to contribute towards our aim to ensure that every child has the same opportunity to succeed, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

Parental involvement means "being available to speak with parents at the school gates"

It is important that we focus on the strengths contained within families and communities as well as strong partnerships between early learning and childcare settings and schools, and the NHS, third sector, community organisations and others. Our renewed national package of guidance and training will therefore contain a strong focus on parental engagement in learning alongside parental involvement in the life and work of school or early learning and childcare setting.

Family learning has a vital role to play in helping families to learn and develop together. Our approach to family learning will be based on the principle that family learning is an approach relevant to all staff, a methodology that engages families in learning opportunities using universal and early intervention and prevention strategies. All staff will have families and community needs and aspirations at the heart of their approach.

Goal F (Parental Engagement): Improve support to parents and families to help them to engage with their child’s learning and development

Parental engagement means …"having good relationships with my children"
Quote, parent

National Actions:

Action 16 The Scottish Government will work with local authority partners to increase access to home-school link workers and similar roles by the end of 2019. The government’s investment in Pupil Equity Funding will continue to provide schools with opportunities to employ their own workers where the school concludes that a link worker will support the school’s aims. Work will be undertaken with local authorities to widen access to home/school link workers, to monitor progress and to evaluate impact.

Action 17 The Scottish Government will continue to work with delivery partners to further develop and implement a range of commitments set out in the National Parenting Strategy.

Action 18 The Scottish Government will continue to deliver the Baby Box programme. This will include the launch of ‘Baby Box 2’ with national roll-out of a new design and contents by end March 2019.

Action 19 The Scottish Government will invest in the Parent Club marketing campaign as a single integrated marketing approach to all parental audiences across learning, health and other policy themes. The learning theme within Parent Club will run from Autumn 2018 and will build parents’ confidence in how to adopt learning activities into their daily lives. Parent Club will also be independently monitored and evaluated among parents by May 2019.

Spotlight on…maths and numeracy

We know that maths and numeracy can be intimidating for parents and carers who are less confident with the subject. A positive attitude to maths can help to support children’s progress in numeracy and maths. A number of primary and secondary schools have engaged with parents to provide information, advice and support to encourage parental engagement and participation. Drop-in classroom sessions, tailored courses on numeracy learning for parents, numeracy cafes, bedtime maths sessions, video and social media updates, and evening sessions at school with pizza and hot chocolate are all common methods employed to foster an appreciation of the value of maths and confidence in learning together. Education Scotland will work with the National Parent Forum of Scotland to identify key challenges for parental engagement in maths and to promote good practice and guidance for practitioners and parents.

Spotlight on….Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths ( STEM): Mearns Primary School

The school launched literacy and numeracy home reading kits for parents to use with their children at home. Initially, teachers created a workshop for parents which encouraged engagement and equipped them with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively support their child’s learning. Parents then volunteered to host workshops for other parents using the model set out by the teachers. A borrowing system was then put in place allowing parents to take these kits home to support their child in particular areas of literacy and numeracy. Key parents were then responsible for the distribution and maintenance of this resource.

The school was an outstanding finalist in the STEM category of the 2018 Scottish Education Awards. Links with local employers and the partnerships with their local shopping centre provided learners with very valuable insights into the world of work. This is supported by strong cluster working which had been established over a number of years.

Action 20 The Scottish Government will continue to invest in a package of national programmes to support parental engagement in learning including Bookbug, Read, Write, Count and the Deputy First Minister’s Holiday Maths Challenge. [10]

Action 21 Education Scotland will publish examples of good practice on learning at home by March 2021.

Spotlight on….Gaelic Medium Education

Action 22 The Scottish Government will ensure that effective support is provided to parents who would like to have access to Gaelic Medium Education for their children.

Supporting activity:

Involvement: The growth in Gaelic Parent Councils has helped to improve parental involvement and engagement in Gaelic Medium Education in schools. It is equally important that those parents with children in Gaelic Medium Education are also represented on Parent Councils of schools with Gaelic Medium Education units. The Scottish Government will work with Comann nam Pàrant ( CnP) – the organisation for parents with children in Gaelic Medium Education and funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig – in order to promote and support parental involvement and engagement.

Engagement: The Scottish Government will work with Bòrd na Gàidhlig to fund Storlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig providing resources and support for pupils and teachers at all levels in Gaelic Medium Education. Storlann will have an important role in supporting parents with children in Gaelic Medium Education via its website and telephone support line Gaelic 4 Parents. The Scottish Government will ensure that Bookbug and Read, Write, Count initiatives continue to support parental engagement in Gaelic Medium learning.

* Further information is available in Appendix B

Spotlight on….Education Scotland’s Family Learning Framework

In April 2018 Education Scotland published its Family Learning Framework providing advice and support for everyone who works with families in early learning and childcare settings, schools, colleges, community learning and development, or in the third sector. In august 2018 Education Scotland will publish their ‘Review of Learning at Home’. This review provides the first Scottish definition of ‘Learning at Home’. The objective is to produce an easily accessible and understandable definition of learning at home and to provide clarity for practitioners and parents.

Parental engagement means… "confirming our will to stay together, to never give up"
Quote, parent

Key steps at local authority level:

  • Provide advice to schools about relationship-based approaches.
  • Share good practice in family learning.
  • Ensure that parental engagement is embedded within the improvement planning process.
  • Share good practice in involving parents in school improvement planning.

Key steps – practitioners, managers, families:

  • Talk with parents and families about the role that they play in supporting children’s learning.
  • Make it everyone’s role to support parental engagement.
  • Develop strategies with parents that help them to further develop their skills and confidence to support their child’s learning.
  • Consider parental engagement when considering your policies on homework.
  • Take time to build the necessary trust and confidence amongst staff and parents.
  • Ask parents what works for their children and what might help them to engage with their children’s learning.
  • Ensure that parental engagement and family learning are considered as part of improvement planning processes.
  • Consider the diverse needs of parents and families and tailor advice to suit individual parents’ needs.

Goal G (Family Learning): Increase the opportunities for families to access evidence based family learning opportunities and programmes

Spotlight on…Family Learning using Pupil Equity Funding

The Scottish Government received reports from headteachers on how they have used the available Pupil Equality Funding. From the feedback received, it was clear that parental engagement and family learning featured strongly as an additional benefit of Pupil Equity Funding. Headteachers referred to the success of initiatives aiming to engage families and reported improvements in the relationships between the school and parents.

National Actions:

Action 23 The Attainment Scotland Fund and Pupil Equity Funding will continue to provide funding to schools from 2018 onwards. Schools will continue to be able to tap into these funds to arrange family learning programmes and to fund joint activity with early learning and childcare settings.

Action 24 By March 2019 Education Scotland will publish professional learning resources and case studies to support practitioners in their work to continually improve parental engagement and family learning.

Spotlight on…joint working to support families - Families First

Families First is a family support programme. It started with two ‘core teams’, one in Ferguslie and one in Linwood, to help families build a better future for their children, with a focus on 0-8 years. The teams offer a support package that starts with staff building trust and quickly moves forward to helping the families achieve their potential. Some families have a key worker working very closely with them for months, while others come to drop-in sessions for a chat – and they know the teams are there if they need them, 371 families have been supported by Families First core teams, with £1 million of income generated for local families. - Reproduced with permission from the Renfrewshire Tackling Poverty Strategy 2015 – 2017

Action 25 By the end of 2019 Scottish Government will develop plans to assess the impact of the range of parental engagement and family learning programmes as supported by the Attainment Scotland Fund and Schools Programme.

Spotlight on…joint working to support families - Families First

Families First is a family support programme. It started with two ‘core teams’, one in Ferguslie and one in Linwood, to help families build a better future for their children, with a focus on 0-8 years. The teams offer a support package that starts with staff building trust and quickly moves forward to helping the families achieve their potential. Some families have a key worker working very closely with them for months, while others come to drop-in sessions for a chat – and they know the teams are there if they need them, 371 families have been supported by Families First core teams, with £1 million of income generated for local families.

- Reproduced with permission from the Renfrewshire Tackling Poverty Strategy 2015 – 2017

Spotlight on…Save the Children’s Families Connect Programme

Families Connect supports parents and children to learn together, focusing on literacy and language development, numeracy and emotional development. The eight-week programme works with children in the early years of primary school and in the transition from nursery to school. It provides a series of activities, techniques and games that parents and carers can do with their children at home, and that complement children’s learning in school. Each activity encourages parents and children to spend quality time together. The informal workshops focus on getting parents to reflect on what they already do to support their children’s learning, and inviting them to explore new activities, games and approaches that might enhance this.

The programme is delivered in partnership by schools, community practitioners and Save the Children staff.

Key programme outcomes include:

  • Parents feel more confident, skilled and better able to engage in their children’s education.
  • Develops relationships between parents and schools which allows schools to reflect and improve how they engage with parents.
  • Children demonstrate greater enjoyment of learning, are self-motivated and confident, and show improved educational attainment.

An evaluation of the programme showed a significant increase in the level of parent/school engagement, reported by both parents and teachers, and provided details on the ways in which teachers and parents felt the programme had benefited children’s learning. Save the Children is currently delivering Families Connect as an outreach arm of the Scottish Government’s Read, Write, Count programme.

Key steps at local authority level:

  • Measure the impact and success of different approaches to family learning.
  • Draw on evaluation evidence from within the programmes themselves and from wider national and international analysis.
  • Involve wider partners in improvement activities.

Key steps – practitioners, managers, families:

  • Work with families, partners and relevant stakeholders to identify needs within families and community. Ask parents and families to identify if and when they need to access family learning programmes
  • Let families know what's available and what benefit they can derive from the programmes.
  • Understand and build on the assets and potential of the individual, the family and the community.
  • Work with families to support their understanding of family learning outcomes and the positive impact this can have on the whole family.

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