Monday saw us attend Capita’s 3rd National Conference; entitled: ‘Parental Engagement in Schools.’ With an excellent keynote speaker line up, including addresses from Jonathan Robinson, Team Leader, DCSF’s Improving Parental and Family Engagement Division and Dave Baker, Head Teacher at Bradley Stoke Community School, we were looking forward to not only showcasing our new parental reporting solution ‘OPENHIVEinsight’ but also attending some of these great presentation sessions.
The first session we attended was chaired by Tricia Hartley, Chief Executive of Campaign for Learning – who opened the conference asking the question: “What makes for effective engagement?”
Jonathan Robinson started his address regarding Building a 21st Century Parental Engagement Strategy. As an advisor to Ministers on our strategy for parental engagement and learning, it was fascinating to hear Jonathan’s vision for the future.
Jonathan covered Your Child, your schools, our future implications on the White Paper on School partnerships with parents; The Children’s Plan: progress made and, finally the future Government strategy regarding parental engagement; something I will share with you…
Jonathan discussed how parents are the biggest influencers in their children’s development and that parents should be made welcome by schools as valued participants in learning; parents should be given information, support and opportunities so they can in turn support their children’s development. Jonathan proceeded to say that habits and behaviours in the home all have an effect on children at school. He used the “reading for pleasure” analogy whereby parents can influence their children’s learning just by sitting down to read with them in the evening. Jonathan stated that Ministers want parents to be partners in learning and for more and more parents to become actively engaged.
A vision for the future
Jonathan commented “It is important lessons learned that need to be reviewed by the institute of education and then documented; helping to establish what schools should be doing to engage parents and where to share their successes.”
In his vision for the future, the future of parental reporting can be summarised as:
- Continuing to influence practice at an institutional level
- To deliver key messages and activities to engage parents: “What you do at home really matters”
- There has to be a focus on influencing all parents across all levels
- To support the workforce and ensure that establishments are accountable for parental engagement through self assessment, involving Ofsted and school’s responsiveness to the views of parents
- Guidance on parental engagement is being developed for schools with the intention of publishing a bank of practice by April 2010
- Changes to the school prospectus and school records (including annual pupil report) regulations are planned to come into force in September 2010
- The parent and pupil guarantee comes in to effect from September 2010
As his presentation came to a close, Jonathan highlighted netmums.com, a social networking site that enables parents to share common interests, collaborate and receive support from one another.
So, the future looks like one of collaboration, partnership and support as schools share ideas and support one another in achieving best practice.
These two presentation sessions certainly provoked a lot of thoughts in my mind about parental reporting and parental engagement. What was clear was the confirmation of what we had discussed in an earlier post, that when it comes to online reporting the word ‘expectation’ has changed to ‘guarantee’. Secondary schools don’t have much longer in which to prepare to deliver against this guarantee.
Next up for us is the ICT in Primary Schools Conference on Friday – notes coming soon…