Annex A: Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 in Context
The duties and powers within the Act do not sit in isolation. They are part of a much broader set of policies, laws and approaches which help to define the Scottish approach to education. This Annex attempts to provide a summary of the main items of legislation, the main policies and strategies which are relevant to parental involvement and engagement and the duties and powers contained within the Act.
|Policy / Legislation||Summary||Relevance to Scottish Schools (parental Involvement) Act 2006|
|The Scottish approach to Parental Involvement, Parental Engagement, Family Learning and Learning at Home||Summarised in the 2018 “Learning Together” Action Plan, the Scottish Government’s policy on parental involvement (ie the involvement of parents in the life and work of the school or early learning setting), parental engagement (ie parents’ and families’ engagement in children’s learning), family learning and learning at home||This policy sets out what is meant by parental involvement, parental engagement, family learning and learning at home. It describes the outcomes that are supported and the ultimate purpose behind the Act.|
|Getting it Right for Every Child||Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) is Scotland’s approach to improving the wellbeing of children and young people.
It puts the best interests of the child at the heart of services and decision making.
|Getting it right for every child puts the rights and wellbeing of children and young people at the heart of the policies and services that support them and their families – such as early learning and childcare, schools and the NHS.
A named person therefore contributes to making the school welcoming, inclusive and supportive for parents; working in partnership with them to support the wider wellbeing of their children.
|Children (Scotland) Act 1995||The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 sets out the duties and powers available to public authorities to support children and their families and to intervene when the child's welfare requires it.|
|Early Learning and Childcare / Early Years
Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014
|The Scottish Government’s policy is to expand access to early learning and childcare in order to improve children’s outcomes, help close the poverty-related attainment gap, increase family resilience and support parents into work, study or training
The term 'early learning and childcare' was introduced in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. The Act replaced the previous entitlement of up to 475 hours per year of free sessions of pre-school education for
3-5 year olds, with a more flexible offer of up to 600 hours ELC per year for 3-5 year olds and certain eligible 2 year olds. Parents may also purchase additional hours of ELC for children who have an entitlement, and those who are not yet entitled to free hours.
|Children learn and develop at home and with their family. As they grow and develop, children will have access to early learning and childcare. It is in these early years that relationships of trust and confidence can be forged between educators, childcare providers and families. Good quality parental communication and involvement begins in the early years of education.|
|Education (Scotland) Act 1980||The 1980 Act provides the core duty on local authorities to provide school education in their area. The Act also puts a duty on parents to provide education to their children (s.30) and is the principal piece of legislation governing the Scottish education system.||The link between the curriculum, learning and teaching and experiences at home is a crucial one. Parental involvement and engagement is not an end in itself, but a vital contributor to towards children’s development and progress in learning. Parents can assist with learning – and therefore the aims for the curriculum – through regular engagement with their child’s learning, support for homework, consultation and discussion with the teacher or early years practitioner and involvement in the life and work of the school or early learning setting. In turn, parents should expect to be provided with information about the curriculum provided in the school and, if they wish, to be involved in curriculum development through the Parent Council or broader consultation activity. Similarly, school leaders should consider ways to involve parents in school improvement.|
|Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence||Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) is Scotland’s curriculum. It covers learning between the ages of 3 – 18 and aims to help young people become successful learners, responsible citizens, effective contributors and confident individuals.
Published in 2019, a Refreshed Narrative for Scotland’s Curriculum sets out Scotland’s approach to the curriculum, revisiting the initial CfE narrative and restating the central importance of the four capacities in the curriculum and the knowledge, skills and attributes that our children and young people need.
For more information see:
|In line with the relevant provisions of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 (referenced above), Curriculum for Excellence places an expectation on education practitioners to report on a child’s progress to parents/carers. This allows parents/carers to receive clear feedback in relation to their child’s learning but also allow the identification of next steps to learning which can extend into the home environment.
Parental involvement and engagement is an important aspect in the overall approach to Scotland’s curriculum, an approach which emphasises the child at the centre. Positive relationships between parents, educators and learners – relationships based on trust, collaboration and partnership – can help to achieve the aims for the curriculum.
|“An Empowered System”: School Empowerment||Published in draft form in 2019 “An Empowered System” is a guidance resource designed to support our empowered system in its collective endeavour to improve children and young people’s outcomes. The guidance explores the contributions of eight key partners in an empowered system – school leaders, learners, local authorities and regional improvement collaboratives, Scottish Government and national organisations, partners, support staff, teachers and practitioners and parents and carers. The guidance encourages collaboration, collegiality and mutual respect between all partners.
For more information see:
|Parents and carers are included as one of the eight key partners in an empowered system. Specific guidance on parents and carers explains that empowering parents means improving and strengthening the ways in which education staff engage with parents and families; ensuring they are at the centre of decision making processes about their children’s learning.
There is a very close link between the legislation, policy and practice relating to the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 and the themes and aspirations for an empowered system. Parental involvement and parental engagement are vital elements in helping to empower parents and carers.
|National Improvement Framework for education / “How Good is Our School? (4th edition)” / “How Good is Our Early Learning and Childcare”
Education (Scotland) Act 2016
Scotland’s Schools etc. Act 2000.
|The National Improvement Framework (“NIF”) provides the guiding framework for the continuous improvement of the education system in Scotland. Various aspects of the NIF are underpinned by the
Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc. Act 2000. Since 1996, How good is our school (4th edition) (HGIOS4) is the quality improvement framework used by HM Inspectors of Education. It is also designed to provide the basis for self-evaluation and reflection by practitioners at all levels, to evaluate quality and improve their work.
For more information see:
|The NIF includes a driver on parental engagement. Parental involvement and engagement are featured in both the “HGIOS” and “How Good is Our Early Learning and Childcare” document.
The School Improvement plan is a very important part of the overall framework, and parents should be fully involved in shaping and reflecting on the improvement plan for the school.
Parental Involvement and Engagement should therefore feature in improvement planning and improvement activity at all levels in education.
|Scottish Attainment Challenge / Pupil Equity Funding||The Scottish Attainment Challenge is about achieving equity in education. This can be achieved by ensuring every child has the same opportunity to succeed, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. It provides dedicated funding to local authorities and focuses on improvement activity in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing in specific areas of Scotland.
The Pupil Equity Funding is allocated directly to schools and targeted at closing the poverty related attainment gap.
|Research shows that school staff have developed very positive relationships with families based on trust and respect. They are aware of and sensitive to family socio-economic circumstances, challenges and barriers. As a result, parents and carers are confident to engage with schools in supporting their child’s learning.
Structured family learning programmes, co-constructed with partners, are leading to meaningful accredited and non-accredited outcomes for parents and carers living in the most disadvantaged communities.
Staff support and deliver family learning programmes. They work directly with families to improve home school links and provide practical support.
|Additional Support for Learning||The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 provides the legal framework for the provision of additional support for learning. The Act is structured around the concept of support being needed for any reason, and for short or long term periods determined by the individual learning needs of the child or young person. The key duties on education authorities are to identify, make provision for, and keep under review provision for the additional support needs of children and young people for whose education they are responsible.||All parents should be fully involved in decisions affecting their child and be supported to be engaged in their child’s learning. Parents of children with additional support needs may need additional advice and support to ensure that they are fully involved in assessments, decisions and support for their child. Local authorities are subject to both the 2004 Act and the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006, as well as various other items of legislation.|
|“School Handbook Regulations” – the Education (School and Placing Information) (Scotland) Regulations 2012||The School Handbook Regulations, which are accompanied by further guidance require local authorities and schools to publish School Handbooks intended to communicate the ethos of the school, help parents to choose a school, prepare their child for school and act as a reference tool while their child is at the school.||School Handbooks are an important – though not the only – aspect of parental communication and involvement. They should form part of a broader approach to communicating and working in partnership with parents.|
|“Pupil Records” Regulations - The Pupils' Educational Records (Scotland) Regulations 2003||The Pupils' Educational Records (Scotland) Regulations 2003 give parents a specific right of access to their child's educational records. The regulations also provide for certain exemptions from these requirements and require that pupil records are kept for 5 years after the pupil has left school.||Parents’ access to their child’s educational records is another important aspect of good parental involvement and communication. School leaders should take steps to facilitate this access.|
Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015
|Research has shown that when communities feel empowered, this leads to greater participation in local democracy increased confidence and skills among local people more people volunteering and greater satisfaction with quality of life in the neighbourhood. Community empowerment is about supporting communities to do things for themselves, and to make their voices heard in the planning and delivery of services.
The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 covers areas such as community planning partnerships, Participation requests an participation in public decision-making
|The involvement of the Parent Forum and the Parent Council are examples of empowering citizens to make their voices hear in the planning and delivery of services; in this case, in relation to the work of schools and early learning settings.
Community Planning is a process which helps public agencies to work together and with the community to plan and deliver better services which make a real difference to people's lives. Schools and Parent Councils have a role to play as part of the wider community. Schools and members of school
Parent Forums will be affected by the setting of community plans and decisions taken on how public bodies work together and provide services. It is therefore important that schools, Parent Councils and wider parent forums are able to feed in to the development of local community planning and work with community planning partners.
Equality Act 2010 (including Scottish specific duties regulations)
Education (Disability Strategies and Pupils' Educational Records) (Scotland) Act 2002
|The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. It sets out the different ways in which it’s unlawful to treat someone; and introduces a positive duty to promote equality and foster good relations.
Before the Act came into force there were several pieces of legislation to prevent discrimination, including:
|The Equality Act 2010 requires that public bodies have due regard to the need to:
Education authorities, schools and Parent Councils are require to comply with the Equality Act in any activities relating to parental involvement and engagement.
|Complaints to Education authorities and the right of appeal
Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002
|The complaints processes that most education authorities will follow are linked to a formal right of appeal through the office of The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) who has a wide remit, covering many public services in Scotland.
The powers and duties of the SPSO come from the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002 including distinct areas of statutory functions over: the ﬁnal stage for complaints about most devolved public services in Scotland including councils, the health service, prisons, water and sewerage providers, Scottish Government, universities and colleges and speciﬁc powers and responsibilities to publish complaints handling procedures, and to monitor and support best practice in complaints handling.
|Most, if not all, education authorities will now follow their local authorities centralised complaints policy which deals with all complaints made about matters which the local authority has responsibility for including education and schools. These are the procedures that parents or Parent Councils should follow if they wish to raise a complaint about their school, school staff or education authority.
The SPSO provides the framework by which the complaints processes have been developed and provides a formal independent right of appeal through the office of The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman for anyone who is dissatisfied with the response they receive form the local authority to their complaint.
|United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)||Education authorities must have regard to the following Articles of the UNCRC when undertaking their duties in relation to the Act:
||The UNCRC sets out parents’ right to champion their children’s needs and to receive support that is in their child’s best interests. Article 5 of the UNCRC makes clear that public bodies should respect the rights and responsibilities of parents and carers to provide guidance and direction to their child as they grow up, so that children and young people fully enjoy their rights. This must be done in a way that recognises the child’s increasing capacity to make their own choices. The UNCRC also respects parent’s responsibilities to raise their children, to keep them safe and help them thrive.|