Welcome to the Parent Council
Thank you for agreeing to be a member of your school's Parent Council. The time and effort you give is much appreciated and will make a difference to your school and the education that it provides for all its pupils.
The leaflets in this pack are designed to answer some of the questions you may have about Parent Councils and help you to make your Parent Council work well. If you have been involved with a School Board or PTA before, some of this information may be familiar to you - but there will also be some new ideas that will help you develop your Parent Council. If this is your first time on a parent group these leaflets will give you some basic information and quickly help you take part in discussions and decision making.
How this pack can help
This pack contains information and ideas to help you make your Parent Council effective. This includes:
- Welcome to the Parent Council - an introduction to Parent Councils and the difference parents make.
- What do you want to achieve? - developing a plan of activities that will make a difference in the school.
- Getting started - ideas for making a success of that all important first meeting of the Parent Council.
- Getting the most from your Parent Council - making the most of the skills, interests, knowledge and experiences of the Parent Council and other parents.
- Help and support - what help and support can you expect from the school, headteacher, local authority and co-opted members.
- Helping more parents get involved - the importance of communicating with parents and gaining their views in a range of different ways and making it possible for everyone to contribute in the way that suits them best.
- Working together - making sure that your meetings are effective and developing good partnership working.
- Roles of office bearers - some common roles and tasks.
- Finding out more - useful information, resources, organisations and websites that will help to answer any other questions you may have.
Why are you here?
- Because parents are important and make a real difference to children's learning - when parents are involved children and young people do better and achieve more
- To work together with everyone involved in school life - parents, learners, teachers, school staff and the wider community - to support the school
- To make sure that all parents have a say in their children's education - and are able to express their views and wishes
- To build links and involve parents with the wider learning community - nurseries and pre-school groups, other schools and services
- To listen to what parents want the Parent Council to do and report back to the Parent Forum on your activities and how they can get involved.
How your Parent Council can make the difference
Learning begins (and continues) at home
Parents and families are children's first teachers and continue to make a difference to children's learning as they grow older. Information and support can help parents make the most of family activities to help children learn and develop. How can you help parents help their children? As a Parent Council you may want to support events and activities where families and children can learn and have fun together.
Parents and Schools as Partners
There are lots of ways in which schools, parents, families and the community can work together to give children and young people the best possible education. Schools are most effective when they develop positive relationships with parents and the community they serve. How can the Parent Council support these relationships and work with the school to achieve its objectives and make improvements where needed? You may want to consider your school's development plan and think about your own activities to support those of the school.
Giving parents a voice
The Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 gives parents the right to receive information about their children's education and to be represented and have their views expressed through the Parent Council. There can be many ways of gaining the views of parents and finding out what is important to them. There is a Toolkit to help your Parent Council discover parents' views and think about what the important issues are for your school.
Ideas to help parents get involved
At the end of each leaflet you will find a list of areas of the 'Parents as Partners in their Children's Learning Toolkit' which might be useful to look at. The Toolkit provides ideas of ways to get parents involved in their child's learning. A copy has been sent to each Parent Council. It can also be found on the Parentzone website at www.parentzonescotland.gov.uk
All of the checklists and activities in the Toolkit can be downloaded in 'Word' format which means that you can alter and adapt them or add your own school logo to suit your own needs.