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Publication - Publication

National Improvement Framework: Parent Communication Plan

Published: 2 Nov 2016
Part of:
Education
ISBN:
9781786525611

A parent communication plan for the National Improvement Framework.

Contents
National Improvement Framework: Parent Communication Plan
Priorities

Priorities

The Scottish Government worked with members of the national Parental Engagement Steering Group to map the main sources of information for parents.

Diagram 1: Key sources of information /advice for parents

Diagram 1: Key sources of information /advice for parents

The group concluded that for many parents the main source of information - and their most trusted source - will be their child's headteacher (or head of establishment) and their child's class teacher or keyworker.

The national priorities and actions in this plan therefore concentrate on providing practical parent-friendly information:

a) to heads of establishment and education practitioners, and;

b) to Parent Councils, the wider parent forum and the local community.

The plan focuses on three key priorities:

Priority 1 Explaining what the National Improvement Framework is, why it has been developed, and where it is relevant to parents
Priority 2 Answering the questions that are most important to parents and families.
Priority 3 Supporting good quality dialogue between parents, teachers and head-teachers

Parents of children in Gaelic Medium Education ( GME) will have their own specific needs in relation to communicating the key messages about framework. This should be taken into account by national, regional/local organisations as well as schools. Additional bespoke communication plans and activities for parents of children in GME will be developed under this plan.

Priority 1: Explaining what the National Improvement Framework is, why it has been developed, and where it is relevant to parents

Some of language associated with the improvement framework can be highly technical and difficult for parents to relate to. It can include professional or organisational terms which can serve to create additional barriers. As national agencies begin to implement the framework - and as schools engage with parents and other partners - they will need to provide straightforward, practical information to parents and carers. They should seek to explain in very practical terms what the framework means for parents and their children. Communication about the framework - indeed, communication with parents about any aspect of education - should be relevant to parents, developed in partnership with parents themselves and should use plain English, jargon-free explanations.

The national improvement framework for education is… What does this mean for you and your child?

A way to gather better information to help to improve Scottish education.

Across all of Scotland's schools, it is about each and every school considering what they need to do to improve and what support they need to improve.

For your child, it is about making sure that they:
  • have the best start in life;
  • develop their literacy and numeracy skills (reading, writing, listening and talking, maths and number skills), and;
  • have the right range of skills, qualifications and achievements to allow them to succeed.
For your child's school, it is about making sure that those who lead the school know how well they are doing and what they need to do next.

At national level we will take the following steps:

1. Scottish Government and Education Scotland will work with the National Parent Forum of Scotland to promote and distribute its Nutshell on the National Improvement Framework. The National Parent Forum will make further changes to the Nutshell in response to the evolution of the framework.
2. Scottish Government and Education Scotland will work with the National Parental Engagement Steering Group to provide parent-friendly explanations for all of the improvement framework themes. The explanations will seek to answer questions such as: "What does this mean?"; "Why should I be interested as a parent?"; "What are the key questions from parents?". There will also be a jargon buster for heads of educational establishments, Parent Councils and Parent Teacher Associations.

At school level, this will mean providing straightforward explanations of what is meant by improvement at school level. Rather than attempting to translate the technical terms within the framework, schools may wish to focus on the behaviours and experiences that lie at the heart of the improvement framework.

Priority 2: Answering the questions that are most important to parents and families.

Discussions with members of the National Parental Engagement Steering Group identified parental engagement and assessment of children's progress as the two key themes that are likely to be of greatest interest to parents and carers.

Parental engagement

Communication on this theme should focus on what it really means for parents and schools, namely:

  • good quality communication between home and school;
  • on-going, effective and meaningful reporting to parents about their child's progress;
  • practical advice and support to parents to help with learning in the home;
  • opportunities for parents to be involved as equal partners in activities to improve learning for children across the school;
  • support for family learning programmes, where this is appropriate to the needs of parents and families;
  • opportunities for parents and families to volunteer and to make a contribution towards the life and work of the school, and;
  • opportunities for parents to be involved in making important decisions related to their local school.

Assessment of Children's Progress

The Scottish Government's aim is to establish a rounded picture of how children and young people are progressing in all aspects of their life and learning. National standardised assessments, as one part of this wider picture, have received a large amount of coverage in the media. The assessments will provide one source of information - alongside a range of other sources of information - to inform teachers' judgement of progress in aspects of reading, writing and numeracy. Communication on this theme will aim to provide a comprehensive picture of the various aspects of children's progress that will be measured. This includes what assessment is (and what it is not) and what achievement of a curriculum for excellence level means. It will aim to explain the role that will be played by standardised assessments as part of a broader package of information. Finally, it will seek to answer the practical questions that may be posed by parents and carers about standardised assessments

At national level we will take the following steps:

3. We will promote the important role played by parents across all six of the improvement framework drivers. This will be emphasised in all communications with headteachers and schools.
4. Scottish Government and Education Scotland will consult with parent organisations on a parents' pamphlet on assessment accompanied by a question & answer document. This will include answers to the practical questions that parents may have about standardised assessment.

At school level this is likely to mean answering the practical questions that parents are likely to post. For example:

On parental engagement:

  • What does this mean to me?
  • What is my role as a parent in my children's learning and in their school?
  • What support and advice should I expect to receive from my child's school to help me support my child/children and to support my family to be involved in the life and work of my child's school?

On assessment and reporting:

  • What is assessment?
  • What will the new standardised assessments mean for my child?
  • What information will I receive?
  • What changes will be brought about by the improvement framework?

Priority 3: Supporting good quality dialogue about improvement amongst parents, teachers and headteachers

The third priority is to support good quality discussion with parents and families about the vital contribution that parents can play in improving their local school.

At national level we will take the following steps:

5. Education Scotland will work with parent organisations to develop national guidance to schools and local authorities on reporting to parents by January 2017. In line with the principles within this plan, the guidance will emphasise the importance of dialogue between parents, teachers and other practitioners.
6. Education Scotland and Scottish Government will work with all partners to consider the specific role of Parent Councils at the heart of improvement in their local school. This will include discussions with the Scottish Parent Teacher Council to learn lessons from their Partnership Schools initiative and to consider the findings from the National Parent Forum's review into the 2006 Parental Involvement Act.
7. Education Scotland will work with parent organisations in making further updates to the Parentzone Scotland website to reflect the introduction of the National Improvement Framework. This will include plain English explanations of terms such as achievement of a level, and broad general education. The information will be provided in a way that is relevant and meaningful to parents, providing appropriate context and explanation. The publication scheme will be developed with the Parentzone Scotland Strategic Stakeholder Group which includes parent organisations.

At school level this will mean creating opportunities for productive conversations with parents about what is important to them and what role they would like to play. Again, the focus should be on answering practical questions, demonstrating the collaborative approach that lies at the heart of the framework.


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