What is Parental Involvement and Engagement?
When parents take a supportive role in their child's education there is a positive impact on children's achievements.
Dumfries and Galloway Council Education and Learning Directorate has developed a Parental Involvement and Engagement (PIE) Strategy 2023-2026 which can be found - Parental Involvement and Engagement (PIE) - Dumfries and Galloway Council (dumgal.gov.uk)
This is a summary of roles and responsibilities as partners in learning:
Roles and Responsibilities
Partnerships are most effective when schools regard parent's views as important, take them into account and this is fully recognized and appreciated by parents. This will happen when parents and school staff are committed to partnership working and have a clear understanding of their respective roles.
Partnership working - what does this look like for parents?
Working in partnership with their child(ren)'s school will support their child(ren)'s education - this might include:
- The processes involved in preparing children for key transitions, such as from nursery to primary, primary to secondary and leaving school.
- Discussing the opportunities available to children during key periods of their school career, such as the Senior Phase (S4-S6).
- Formulating the school's priorities for improvement (involved in the development of the School Improvement Plan).
- Revising existing school policies and introducing new policies.
- Contributing to the School Handbook.
In addition, the Parent Council should:
- Encourage positive dialogue between school, staff, and the Parent Forum.
- Play a key role in engaging with the wider Parent Forum and representing their views to the School and Local Authority.
- Raise awareness of and access to sources of information and support agencies (via school level information leaflets) as a reference point to support their children.
Partnership working - what does this look like for schools?
- All members of staff should ensure that they treat parents as partners in the education of their child(ren).
- All members of staff have a responsibility to help to realise the potential of each individual child and to work in partnership with each child's parents to achieve this.
- The Headteacher will ensure that an effective school Parental Involvement and Engagement Policy is in place and that it has been developed in conjunction with the views of parents in their respective schools.
- Headteachers encourage parents participation in school policies and involve them in the development of their School Improvement Plan.
- The involvement of pupils (Pupil Councils) should consider their views on parental involvement and engagement.
- Schools may already have an existing policy on Parental Involvement and Engagement however, if not, schools should prepare one and it should be included in the cycle of policy reviews.
Schools will also consider:
- Learning at home Parents are the first and ongoing educators of their own children and, as such, should receive information and support to help develop their child(ren)'s learning at home and in the community.
Learning at Home: what does this look like?
Family Learning Children in Scotland spend approximately 15% of their waking hours in school (OECD, 2014). The remaining 85% of children's time is spent at home or in their communities and this presents a potentially significant opportunity for learning. Equipping, supporting, and building the capacity of Scotland's parents to maximise children's opportunities for learning is key to raising attainment. For more information and a review of the Family Learning by the Scottish Government please click on the following link:
Education Support Services through:
- Insurance and Training opportunities as part of Connect Scotland membership for Parent Councils and for schools.
- Officer support for Parental Involvement and Engagement - policy and practice.
Parental Representation (Parental Involvement Act 2006)
This Act makes provision for all parents to be members of the Parent Forum at a school, and to have their views represented to the school, education authority and others, through a representative Parent Council for the school.
There should also be regular consultation with pupils regarding Parental Involvement within the school. Parental Involvement and Engagement should be recorded by the school and shared with the wider parent forum through the school newsletters, blogs or as part of their regular communication strategy. Parental Engagement is intended to support the national vision of excellence through raising attainmentand achieving equityfrom Early Learning and Childcare through to the Senior Phase.
Whole school matters Schools should seek and consider the views of parents on the identification of priorities for their school. An ideal way to do this is through a school Improvement Plan or through focus groups.
Principles/ What do these principles mean?
- Integrity - Listen to what parents say and genuinely consider the views expressed.
- Visibility - Make sure all parents know about chances to give their views.
- Accessibility - Design information, methods, and activities so they are attractive, and all parents can access them and join in.
- Transparency - Explain to parents what the involvement processes are and how their responses will be used.
- Disclosure - Be clear about what areas of the issue they can influence, how much influence they can have and what decisions have already been taken and are therefore not part of moving forward and what other alternatives there might be.
- Fair Interpretation - Collate and interpret responses to reflect the views parents have expressed where appropriate.
- Publication - Publish the results of consultations when parents have been involved.
Scheme for the Establishment of Parent Councils
Your School and the Parent Council (PC) should consider using the Scheme of Establishment to carry out the Functions of the 2006 Parental Involvement Act that underpins all parental engagement. This Act requires education authorities to promote the establishment of and to provide support for the operation of Parent Councils. The Scheme for Establishment of a PC is there to help with the start of a new PC and to help PCs review their Constitutions when they decide to do so. The Scheme document gives you a framework setting out how your PC can be created and how it can function. It refers to Scottish Government Acts and local policies, but what is important is to use the document to help guide you when considering what is important for your PC to support the children in your school thrive with the support of all parents. Underpinning this should be a Parental Involvement Strategy for your school that together you and your school should ensure reflects the engagement needed to support your school and the learning that takes place within. The Act says the Parent Forum consists of ALL parents who have a child at the school. The definition of 'parent' includes everyone with a parenting role, for example non-resident parents, foster carers, and relatives who are caring for children for a range of different reasons. It is vital that you consider how you reach and represent the range of families in your school community.
The PC should try to engage with all parents as they have the right to be treated fairly and have access to the work of the PC. The Equality Act 2010 also requires us to look at equality in terms of the nine "protected characteristics": age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation.
The PC will encourage and facilitate consultation with the whole Parent Forum to listen to and consider the views of pupils, parents and community members with a sphere of interest. Depending on the issue, methods may include social media, open meetings, community surveys, comment, or suggestion boxes, as well as clear agendas and minutes. The National Standards for Community Engagement are available to guide Community Councils on engaging with their community National Standards for Community Engagement | SCDC - We believe communities matter
PCs should have arrangements in place for establishing the views of all parents on the standards and quality of education provided by the school, or on other matters that appear to the PC to be of interest or concern to members of the Parent Forum.
To establish your Parent Council, you need to engage with all parents on the Constitution which gives you the composition of the PC and rules on how it will operate. (2006 Act Section 6) The Scheme should also be referenced alongside the D&G Council's Parental Involvement and Engagement Strategy: Parental Involvement and Engagement (PIE) - Dumfries and Galloway Council (dumgal.gov.uk)
The Full Scheme for the Establishment of Parent Council has details of how you might engage and consult with your wider Parent Forum on your Constitution to ensure that you are reflecting the views of all parents. Appendix 2 gives you a consultation template that can help with your planning for this and a sample Constitution, however D&G Council and the officer with responsibility for Parental Involvement and Engagement can work with you through this process.
Advice has also been provided in Parent Council - Know How. This tells you what a PC is, how a PC works, and the roles and responsibilities of those on a Parent Council: Parent Councils - Dumfries and Galloway Council (dumgal.gov.uk)
The statutory functions of a Parent Council are listed within the Act as:
(a) to support the endeavours of those managing the school
For example, supporting the Head Teacher and leadership team to ensure consistent high-quality education that can allow pupils attending the school to develop to their fullest potential.
(b) to make representations
For example, to make suggestions to the school's Head Teacher and to the Education Authority about how the involvement of parents in their children's education can be promoted.
(c) to promote contact between the school, the Parent Forum, parents of prospective pupils of the school, pupils in attendance at the school, the community
For example, to use social media channels to promote information shared with parents and pupils to allow further reach than only those who receive emails via Groupcall from the school.
(d) to report on the council's activities to the members of the Parent Forum
For example, ensuring that minutes produced from regular meetings and the AGM are made available to all interested parties; or producing a Parent Council newsletter that can highlight the works of the Parent Council and to encourage other parents to offer support to the group for the benefit of all pupils at the school.
(e) to ascertain the views of the members of the Parent Forum
For example, sending out questionnaires on a particular topic; or ensuring there is a clear path for parents to reach out to the Parent Council for advice or information.
(f) to collate those views and report them
For example, information gathered should be shared with Head Teachers and the Education Authority as appropriate to allow for action to be taken if necessary.
(g) to review from time to time its constitution
For example, to make sure the content is still relevant to the way the Parent Council currently runs.
h) with the requisite consent, to amend (or replace) the council's constitution whenever it appears to the council to be necessary or expedient to do so
For example, to make changes to the wording of the Constitution after consulting with Parent Council members and the Parent Forum to make sure that it reflects the current format of the Parent Council.
In 2008 Dumfries & Galloway Council and Parent Councils agreed to summarise the above functions of the PC to the following objectives:
- To work in partnership with the school to create a welcoming school which is inclusive for all parents.
- To promote partnership between the school, its pupils, all its parents and the wider community.
- To develop and engage in activities, including fundraising, which support the education and welfare of the pupils.
- To identify and represent the views of parents on the education provided by the school and other matters affecting the education and welfare of the pupils. For Primary school PCs, there is an additional requirement for the PC to:
- promote contact between appropriate/local providers of nursery education (e.g., school, and private nurseries, and childminders) to prospective pupils of the school.
In carrying out these functions, the PC is to use any guidance issued to it, that may include training to support delivering their functions and to comply with any reasonable request made to it by the Headteacher of the school or by D&G Council for information relating to its exercise of those functions. You are required to share ANNUALLY your Constitution, PC Membership details and a copy of your AGM minutes, sending it to:
Resourcing a PC
Funds: All monies raised by or on behalf of the PC or provided by D&G Council and other sources shall be used to further the statutory purposes, role, and responsibilities of the PC and for no other purpose.
Financial year: This shall be from 1 April to 31 March for monies provided by D&G Council (or as agreed by the Parent Council for other funds raised independently) to allow for the proper submission of an audit form.
Non-related Authorised signatories: The PC shall nominate at least three unrelated Office Bearers to act as signatories to the PC bank account. Any changes to the authorised signatories should be approved and minuted by the PC. All cheques and withdrawals should require a minimum of two from those appointed.
Financial Records: It is important that PC members maintain proper financial records and the Treasurer present financial reports at PC meetings. Records should include all income and expenditure. Good record keeping would also include an Asset Register if applicable. The PC shall inform D&G Council of any change in membership (resignations, Co-Opted Membership, etc.) and circumstances within one calendar month of the change taking place.
Preconditions to Release of Grant: D&G Council require agreed AGM minutes and the PC Constitution to be scanned to them with the support of the relevant school. They should be sent to: EducationandLearningParentalInvolvement@dumgal.gov.uk
Please see Appendix 3 Year End Statement in the full Scheme of Establishment found on the following web page Parent Councils - Dumfries and Galloway Council (dumgal.gov.uk)
Other D&G Council grants: Each PC shall be eligible to apply for grants for suitable projects through D&G Council's grant system, in accordance with local priorities, commitments and eligibility criteria.
Support: D&G Council shall determine a consistent level of support to PCs across the region within available resources.
Development: The D&G Council's Education & Learning Directorate shall offer advice and assistance to PC for development and training on such things as the duties and responsibilities of Office Bearers, the role of Parent Councils, the functions of DGC and other relevant topics.
Agreement: The PC shall have adhered to the Scheme and in doing so will maintain a membership record and ensure this is submitted annually with the Year End Financial Statement.
Appendix 4 PC Members and Privacy Notice provides guidance in a simple table about how you should manage the personal data you hold about your parent council membership. Please protect their information as you would like your protected.
How we work together - This gives essential information about what you need to have in place for your PC and what we expect to receive from you each year:
Working with Dumfries & Galloway Council
If you are looking to amend your Constitution or to re-establish a Parent Council, you should contact the officer with responsibility for Parental Involvement and Engagement at the Council in the first instance by emailing EducationandLearningParentalInvolvement@dumgal.gov.uk
Dumfries & Galloway Council Education and Learning Directorate require that Parent Councils provide us with the following information every year:
- A copy of your AGM minutes.
- A list of the Office Bearers for your Parent Council with email address for communication purposes.
- A copy of your Constitution.
- Your Year End Financial Statement in relation to the allocation you receive from the Council.
This should be shared with us by email to EducationandLearningParentalInvolvement@dumgal.gov.uk
- Call: 030 33 33 3000
- Email: EducationandLearningParentalInvolvement@dumgal.gov.uk