Dimension: parents and carers as partners

This dimension is part of the Community Engagement in Learning priority.

 Definition

  • Parent and carer involvement in their child's school contributes to improved student learning, health and wellbeing. Effective schools have high levels of parent and carer engagement and involvement. This involvement is strongly related to improved student learning, attendance and behaviour.
  • These parent and carer partnerships are collaborative, based on effective communication, mutual trust and respect, and shared responsibility for the education of the students at the school. Impact is high where there are consistent positive relationships and students are included in the process of establishing expectations, rules and guidelines for student learning and behaviour in school and at home.

Essential Elements

A number of elements are essential to enable effective work within the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes. Eight Essential Elements form the foundation upon which improvement is built. The Essential Elements for Parents and carers as partners are:

Essential Element 4: Student voice, leadership and agency in own learning activated so students have positive school experiences and can act as partners in school improvement

Essential Element 5: Whole-school approach to health, wellbeing, inclusion and engagement

The Essential Elements are evident at the Evolving stage of each Continuum (below) and are further articulated in the Embedding and Excelling stages in some dimensions.

Continuum

The Continuum for Parents and carers as partners describes a range of proficiency levels (Emerging, Evolving, Embedding and Excelling) that assists principals and teachers to identify areas of practice that require attention in order to deliver improved student outcomes.

Component: The school fosters communication and meaningful partnerships with parents and carers

Emerging

Parents/carers and families are encouraged to participate in school activities specifically designed to invite parents into the school. The school works on policies and procedures which are available to parents/carers on request.  Parents/carers look to the school to provide a secure, safe and caring environment for their children. The school provides avenues for parent concerns and requests to be heard and attempts to address these.

Evolving

Staff ensure all students, parents/carers and families feel safe, welcomed and supported in the school. Parents/carers are encouraged to participate in and contribute to school activities. The school periodically reviews existing school policies, practices and procedures, in consultation with parents/carers and students, to identify issues and gain input into existing school processes and practice. The school has clear processes for responding to parent concerns and these are well understood by parents/carers.

Embedding

Parents/carers are welcomed as partners into the school community and are involved in decision making activities through mechanisms such as parent associations, committees and school council. The school implements strategies and processes to encourage and empower parents/carers to communicate and engage with the school. It regularly communicates opportunities for parent engagement and articulates the benefits of parents as partners for student learning and wellbeing. Parents/carers have opportunities to provide input into guidelines and expectations around learning and behaviour.

Excelling

The engagement and involvement of parents/carers with the school is embedded in the school culture. Parents/carers have a visible presence in the school and their contributions are valued by staff. Parents/carers routinely promote the school and celebrate its achievements in the wider community. Processes exist in a range of forums for parents to provide feedback to the school and this is considered and used to shape future direction. The school staff consult with parents/carers and students to develop guidelines and expectations around learning and behaviour, and to plan support for individual needs.

Component: Home learning connects with school learning

Emerging

The school encourages parents/carers and family partnerships as a key strategy to improve student outcomes. Parents/carers are regularly informed about their child's progress in learning, health and wellbeing. The school provides information to parents/carers about how they can support and monitor home learning effectively.

Evolving

The school provides multiple opportunities for parents/carers and school staff to discuss their respective roles in their children's education. They work together to address the health, wellbeing and learning needs of their children.

The school is respectful of families as the continuing educators of their children, valuing the diverse expertise and experiences families bring to school and home partnerships. Parents/carers can contact teachers in a variety of ways and receive a timely response. The school encourages parents/carers to talk with their child about what they are learning at school and actively engage in home learning activities.

Embedding

The school works with parents/carers to highlight the importance of high expectations and setting challenging goals for their children. It provides advice to parents/carers on how they can support these goals.

Teachers advise parents/carers of the goals and importance of what their child is learning at school, and provide resources and activities for parents/carers to use to support their child's progress. Teachers contact parents/carers about learning goals and connect them into the learning process. They provide progress updates, celebrate successes as well as identify concerns about students. Teachers consult with parents/carers to develop learning plans to support students' learning needs.

Excelling

Parents/carers uphold positive attitudes to learning and consistently support the school's expectations. They work with teachers in setting high expectations to improve outcomes for all students. Parents/carers, students and teachers develop learning goals and student plans together.

Teachers, parents/carers and students discuss students' individual learning progress and needs, including strategies to support learning at home. The school develops programs for parents/carers, such as improving their own literacy and IT skills, general approaches to using maths in the home or more intensive programs for families in crises so that they can better help their children.

Printable resources

Continuum as an A3 print out (pdf - 219.21kb)

Case studies

To see examples of how schools in Victoria are implementing the FISO dimension: Parents and carers as partners see Parents and carers as partners case studies.

Evidence base

To view the Evidence Base for the FISO dimension: Parents and cares as partners see Evidence- Parents and cares as partners.

FAQs

Why should my school engage with this dimension?

Research has found that an effective partnership between parents/carers and the school:

  • improves student learning
  • can also improve the child's wellbeing when focused on social behaviours expected of students.
To what extent is this dimension being implemented in my school?

Consider whether your school has developed partnership approaches with parents/carers where common strategies, rules, guidelines and expectations regarding learning and behaviour are in place.

What can my school focus on?
  • Engaging with parents/carers to find out their needs, interests and preferred channels of communication and ways to be involved as partners in learning.
  • Communicating expectations of parents/carers and regularly communicating with parents/carers about what students are learning and suggesting what parents can do to help.
  • Providing parent/carer education with a view to parents helping their children better meet learning standards.
  • Providing varying opportunities for parents/carers to talk to school personnel about their child's education including information nights, well-planned parent/carer teacher conferences and family nights.
What does successful implementation look like?
  • Parents/carers are welcomed into the school community as equal partners.
  • Regular and clear communication occurs between parents/carers and school personnel about expectations and learning.
  • Parents/carers are provided with opportunities to learn about how they can support their children's learning.
  • Parents/carers promote the school and the whole school community celebrates its successes.
What strategies and actions can my school implement?
  • Develop programs and processes to welcome parents/carers as partners in their child's learning
  • Develop programs working collaboratively with parents/carers to engage and support them in their children's learning.

More information

Community Engagement in Learning Learning priority.