Parents as Partners in Education Policy
St Colmcille’s BNS, Swords
The staff and Board of Management of St Colmcille’s BNS acknowledge the role of parents as partners in education and as the primary educators of their children, and it encourages them to be actively involved in the life of our school. This policy was drafted to inform parents of ways and means of supporting the school and its pupils, and it outlines the strategies which are adopted to promote and to foster positive home-school relations.
Partnership for parents in education has been a stated policy aim of the Government since the publication of Circular 24/91. This aim was given legal status with the enactment of the Education Act, 1998 and the Education Welfare Act, 2000. Within the context of the School Self-Evaluation initiative, it is recommended that schools draft a policy which outlines the manner in which this sense of partnership can be promoted.
Relating this Policy to the Characteristic Spirit of St. Colmcille’s B.N.S
St. Colmcille’s B.N.S. is committed to providing a caring, learning environment which facilitates the nurturing of each pupil’s full, educational potential. Communication between home and school is a vital ingredient in this process. Our school aims to be a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of its community. This community is defined as the pupils, parents, teachers, ancillary staff and visitors to the school.
In drafting this policy, it is hoped to:
Develop a school community which is committed to supporting all of its members
Provide information on the procedures and means of communication which are utilised for sharing information with regard to pupil progress and school events
Enhance the learning environment by extending the educational opportunities which are provided for our pupils
Guidelines / Ways to become involved
Parents are invited to become involved in the school in many ways such as:
Serving on school bodies such as the Board of Management and the Parents’ Association
Policy development e.g. Code of Behaviour, Relationships and Sexuality Education, Healthy Eating Policy
Assisting with coaching and/ or providing transport to sporting events
Organising/ assisting at school events such as Teddy Bears’ Picnic for new Junior Infant pupils
Board of Management (BOM)
The BOM consists of eight members, two of whom are parents elected by the parents of pupils attending our school.
We have an active and supportive Parents’ Association in our school. A Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and Committee are elected at the Annual General Meeting and these officers are in contact with the Principal regarding issues which are raised informally or at the regular Committee meetings. The Parents’ Association provides support for events such as the School Jog, Sports’ Days, Santa’s visit at Christmas, liturgies and other occasions which are not directly funded by the Department of Education and Skills.
Parents are invited to take part in the review of policies in the school. Draft policies are published on our website (www.colmcilles.net) and hard copies of policy documents are provided, if requested. On occasions, parents may be are invited to form a sub- committee in the formulation/revision of certain policies e.g. RSE.
Parents are advised at formal Parent/Teacher meetings and informal meetings of ways in which they can support their child’s learning. Parents of children who are provided with support by our Resource Teachers are invited to meet with the Class Teacher and Resource Teacher to assist in the process of devising of Individual Education Profiles and Learning Profiles (IEPs/ILPs).
Communication between parents and teachers should be open, honest and polite. In the instance of a parent wishing to meet with a teacher, the homework journal can be used to send a note, and the teacher then has the opportunity to prepare for the meeting. The vast majority of meetings at this level will be held outside official school hours because of the disruptive nature of such meetings during the school day. Similarly, if a teacher wishes to meet with a parent, the same procedures will apply.
A booklet giving details of school policies, rules and procedures is given to parents when their children are enrolled for our school.
A summary of the contents of the school booklet is contained in the personalised Homework Journals. The journals provide an effective means of daily communication between parents and teachers, and are available to pupils from 1st Class to 6th Class. A homework folder is used in the Infant Classes. On occasions, in conjunction with our Code of Behaviour, a Daily Report Card is used to communicate with parents regarding positive and negative aspects of certain children’s behaviour at school. This is part of an Individual Behaviour Plan that will have been drawn up in consultation with parents.
The Merit Books are an essential element of the Code of Behaviour. They are written up on a daily basis by teachers, and sent to parents for counter-signing on Fridays. The Merit Books contain positive and negative comments on pupils’ behaviour, and provide a means of informing parents at a very early stage, if issues are arising with regard to a pupil’s behaviour.
Parent Teacher Meetings
Parents are invited to attend formal parent teacher meetings in the first term to discuss their child’s progress academically and socially. The Resource Teachers are also available to meet parents on that day. To meet the needs of parents who are unavailable to attend on the selected dates, an arrangement is in place to organise a meeting on a day that suits all parties involved. Informal meetings are held as frequently as they are needed and parents are encouraged to (a) write a note in the homework journal if they wish to meet the teacher or (b) to arrange an appointment with the school secretary.
Newsletters are sent regularly to all members on our school community. The first newsletter of each school year is in the form of a “welcome letter”, and it contains a list of important dates for that school year. Other newsletters provide updates on school events or draw attention to matters of relevance during that specific time. The Parents’ Association also issues newsletters when it wishes to publicise particular events.
The school calendar and details of the school accounts are among some of the many circulars which are issued during the school year. Parents are always informed in writing if there are exceptional school closings.
Reports on each pupil’s progress are issued twice yearly. The first report is issued prior to the formal parent/ teacher meetings, and the second report is issued at the end of the school year. The second report contains details of a pupil’s performance on the Standardised Tests (1st – 6th) and guidance notes to explain the significance of the test scores.
Board of Management’s Annual Report
The Board of Management’s publishes an Annual Report in which it gives details of the work of the Board and the initiatives with which it has been involved during the course of the school year. This report is published on the school website.
Induction Meeting for Parents of Junior Infants
An induction meeting is held in May for the parents of children in the incoming Junior Infant Classes. Parents are presented with a copy of the School Booklet, and details with regard to school policies and other information are provided.
An Open Day is held each in June of each year for the parents and pupils of the incoming Junior Infant Classes.
The school website is used to disseminate information and school news, and to celebrate happenings and achievements. School policies are published on the policy section, and there are links to a range of websites which contain hints and advice.
The school’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a facility to make contact with the school through a tab on the school website.
The school has established a database of mobile phone numbers on the textaparent.ie website. This facilitates the sending of text messages to all parents or specific groups of parents. For this service to function efficiently, it is important that the school is notified in the event of a charge of mobile phone number.
The notice board at the entrance to the school is updated regularly.
The school hosts a range of events during the year to encourage the participation of parents in the life of the school. Parents are also encouraged to participate in the preparation of their children for the Sacraments of Penance, Communion and Confirmation. Members of the school community and the parish co-operate in the implementation of the Do this in Memory programme.
Liaison with other agencies
Parents are made aware of the contacts which the school maintains with outside agencies such as the Education Welfare Board, the Health Service Executive, the National Educational Psychological Service, the Department of Education and Skills, the principals of various primary / post- primary schools in the area, local clubs and organisations.
the benefits to pupil learning
increased parental involvement in supporting the school
feedback from parents/ staff
Review and Evaluation Procedures
This policy was reviewed in November 2013
Responsibility for Review
all staff members
the Board of Management
the Committee of the Parents’ Association
Ratification and Communication
This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on 11 November. It was uploaded to the website on 1 December 2013.