This page outlines how you should worth with families to improve student behaviour or manage discipline.
When working with parents and carers, it's important to recognise that families come from a diverse range of backgrounds. These differences can leave them feeling alienated from the school and its operations.
The willingness and ability of parents and carers to be involved can be impacted by how they are approached and engaged by the school.
It's important that you are mindful and respectful of diversity. Implement engagement strategies that help everyone feel empowered to advocate for the student and be confident that their concerns will be heard.
Things to consider
Below is a list of things to consider when meeting or engaging with parents and carers:
- Have the parents and carers been provided with accessible information about the purpose of the meeting (including advance copies of documents to be discussed and a list of who will be present)?
- Has the meeting been scheduled at a mutually convenient time and place to accommodate parent and carer needs and commitments such as work or childcare?
- If childcare isn’t possible and young children are present at the meeting, is the meeting located in a safe and appropriate space (e.g. provision of toys or a safe, supervised area for them to play)?
- Have all key personnel been invited and briefed on what is required of them (this may include outside support agencies)?
- Has the parent and carer been encouraged to bring a support person who can assist them in advocating for the student (e.g. it may be appropriate within some cultures for a community leader or Koorie education coordinator/Koorie engagement support officer to be present to support and advocate on behalf of a family)?
- Have you ensured that the meeting is free from interruptions, including from phone calls, other students and staff?
- Have you ensured that parents and carers are informed about the roles of all participants in the meeting, including those who have not previously been involved?
- Have you made accommodations for cultural needs, sensitivities and protocol? Consider contacting your Koorie education coordinator or Koorie engagement support officer for Koorie families. You can also seek advice from your local migrant resource centre, or from the family or community about respectful cultural practice prior to the meeting.
- Have you arranged interpreters (including for AUSLAN) if necessary, before the meeting?
- Have you ensured a record of the meeting is made and distributed to all participants (including key discussion points and areas for action)?
- Have parents and carers been informed in a timely manner when immediate action needs to be taken?
Suspensions and expulsions
Students who are going through the suspension or expulsion processes must have a relevant person who advocates for them. For most students this will be a parent or carer.
If the parent or carer is unavailable or unwilling to act as the relevant person for their child, they can nominate an alternative relevant person.
In the case of the Koorie community, KESOs and KECs are available, to act as the relevant person where desired by the family or carer. A list is available from regional offices.
Read the suspension and expulsion section for the full process and requirements.