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Q1  How can I get more involved in my child's school?

Helping your child at home
Working with a class meeting or association
Helping in class
Running out-of-school activities
Helping with fund-raising and social events
Joining the Parent-Teacher Association or Friends of the school
Joining the governing body

Q1    How can I get more involved in my child's school?

Getting involved in your child's school can be enjoyable and rewarding. A growing number of schools actively encourage parental involvement, but most teachers have not had any training or advice on working with parents. Some teachers find working with parents difficult. As a parent you can do a lot to make it easier.

Helping your child at home

Active involvement in your child's learning is vital for his or her achievement. This is the first and most important way of getting involved.

You can do this by:

knowing what they are being taught in class, so that you can ask questions, discuss points, play games or suggest activities
really listening to your child, so that they tell you what they are feeling and thinking
giving feedback to the teacher, in person or through a home-school journal.

Working with a class meeting or association

A class meeting is a regular meeting of all parents of children in a particular class. Such meetings are common on the continent but are still relatively new in English schools. They are a very useful way of involving parents in their child's education, developing mutual support among parents and for the school. Class meetings sometimes elect representatives to form a parents' council. Parents can help teachers to set up formal or informal class meetings.

Helping in class

Some schools welcome help in class. This is more common in nurseries and infant schools, but junior schools can involve parents by seeking help for special needs, specialist topics or even learning alongside children.

The main points about helping in class are:
Ask the teacher if they would like help and say what kind of help you would like to offer.
Do not expect to help in your own child's class.
Make sure you know what is expected before you start and check how things are going at the end of every lesson.
Make a commitment to come regularly at the same time every week or month.

Running out-of-school activities

Running out-of-school activities is enormously useful for children and schools, especially if you have skills in particular areas, such as the arts, drama, games, sports, science, natural history. There is also a growing amount of advice and support available.

Helping with fund-raising and social events

Help with fund-raising and social events such as fetes, quiz nights, community evenings, Christmas bazaars or celebrations of different faiths and festivals are a vital part of the school community. Even if you can only help occasionally, this is one of the best ways of getting involved.

Joining the Parent-Teacher Association or Friends of the school

The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or Friends of the school used to be the main way of involving parents. PTAs are mainly involved in organising fund-raising and social events. They can be enormously useful and great fun, but they need to avoid becoming cliques.

Joining the governing body

The governing body is the ultimate decision-making body for the school, with final responsibility for finance, staffing and policy. Governors have an important, often difficult and usually time-consuming task, in which parents' voices are essential.

Parent governors have an essential role in representing views of different groups within the school community. If this includes single parents, ethnic minorities and parents on low income, it is important that they can also take part. Parent governors stand for election so, if you want to be elected, you need to be active in the school community and build positive relationships with other parents.


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