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

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.

Leadership and skills

We have seen a step-change improvement in practice and culture over the past 10 years. This has been due in no small part to the leadership, expertise and good practice demonstrated across our schools and early learning and childcare settings. Crucially, it has also benefited from the skills and attributes of parents and families.

As part of the guidance framework on parental involvement and engagement, we will focus on leadership, confidence and skills - attributes that are just as relevant and important to parents and carers as they are to those who work with and support their children.

We will reinforce and build on school and early learning and childcare sector skills in collaborative leadership. We will create the space for professional dialogue and development, focusing on the themes of trust, confidence and collaborative leadership. We will develop and sustain the leadership skills, peer networks and peer supports within the parental community. We will work to further improve the connections and links between organisations providing peer support to parents and the organisations that provide professional development opportunities for practitioners.

As with other sections of this plan, the themes of equalities and equity will be considered in the delivery of all actions in this section.

"Leadership doesn’t come with a position or a title"
Attendee, workshop session on parental engagement

Key steps at local authority level:

  • Identify career-long professional learning needs in relation to parental involvement and engagement.
  • Ensure the delivery of career-long professional learning meets practitioner needs and results in improvements to practice.

Key steps – practitioners, managers, families:

  • Build trust and honest, positive relationships with parents and families.
  • Support parents to feel comfortable and confident in building on their strengths and identifying next steps.
  • Ensure that staff are available for conversations with parents.
  • Recognise that working with parents and engaging with practitioners can be daunting for both parties.

Goal J (Skills): Enhance the skills associated with parental involvement, parental engagement and family learning amongst practitioners

National Actions:

Action 31 The joint work to improve national guidance on parental involvement and engagement will be supported by an additional investment in a package of training, awareness raising and advice materials. The contents of this package will be developed by end June 2019 and rolled out via Regional Improvement Collaboratives, local authorities and parent groups during the course of financial year 2019/20 [11] . The package will be designed to support collaborative leadership at all levels and skills relating to trust and partnership.

Action 32 The General Teaching Council of Scotland will work with partners to ensure that parental involvement and engagement is fully reflected in amended standards for headship and professional standards for teachers and associated support materials. The new standards and accompanying supporting materials will be in place by August 2019. [12]

Action 33 Parental involvement and engagement will be reflected in the new national standards for early learning and childcare settings, expected to take effect in 2020.

Action 34 In the early years we will increase support for evidence-based family learning programmes in order to embed this in the early learning and childcare support for families facing disadvantage. As part of this commitment we will include a module on parental involvement and engagement in an online national programme of career-long professional learning on early learning and childcare. [13]

Action 35 The Scottish Government will engage further with Initial Teacher Education ( ITE) universities and early learning and childcare colleges in order to improve how parental involvement and engagement are reflected in relevant qualifications and courses, and to share expertise.

Action 36 The Scottish College of Educational Leadership ( SCEL), as part of Education Scotland, will work with parent organisations to ensure that parental involvement and engagement are included in the "Into Headship" qualification and the enhanced leadership support package for practitioners by March 2020.

Action 37 By March 2019 SCEL, as part of Education Scotland, will pursue the opportunity to build on the ‘People and Partners’ theme within Excellence in Headship. This theme looks at the importance of collaborative partnership working – a crucial aspect in ensuring effective parental involvement and engagement.

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

National Actions:

Action 38 The Scottish Government will ensure that the refreshed national training and development offer includes specific materials developed for and with parents and Parent Councils. The theme of parental leadership, confidence and capacity will be a strong element in this new package of support and advice.


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