Parental Involvement Policy
Our school is a community where pupils, parents and teachers collaborate and work in partnership for all children. When parents decide to send their child to our school they are entering a very important relationship. “Partnership is a working relationship that is characterised by a shared sense of purpose, mutual respect and a willingness to negotiate.” (Gillian Pugh, Working Towards Partnership in the Early Years).
In keeping with the principles of multi-denominational education, our school is democratically run. This means that democratically elected committees run it, and the involvement of all parents is sought and encouraged.
A high level of parental involvement is a feature of our school and this involvement requires a commitment from parents.
Parents as a group have a range of talents, abilities and skills that have the potential to enrich and extend the educational opportunities provided for the children. It is our policy to identify parents with specific skills and to invite those parents to share their skills with us at a school and at class level.
Respect for the professional role of the teacher and the statutory responsibilities of the Principal, Patron and the Board of Management is always an important consideration.
Parents are invited to become involved in the school in many ways and at many levels, for example:
Serving on school bodies (Board of Management, SETA, Parent-Teacher Association, E.T. Board of Directors, E.T. National Forum)
Organising Social Events
Policy making, e.g. Code of Discipline; Relationships and Sexuality Education; Religious Education Programme; Homework Policy; Parent-Teacher Association Constitution; Healthy Eating Policy.
Benefits of Parental Involvement
Children benefit from greater diversity in the classroom.
Parental skills may support and complement work already taking place.
Parental involvement actively supports and encourages the child’s learning.
A wide range of activity is facilitated. This can be interesting and fun, and can lead to a broader and more holistic education.
It promotes ‘good parent/teacher relationships and a better level of understanding between home and school’ (National Parents’ Council).
It enhances communication, trust and respect between parents and teachers.
Parents can learn about the curriculum.
Parental involvement allows children to see that school is an extension of home and therefore fosters the idea of the ‘school family.’
Parental skills can contribute to the smooth running and development of the school.
Parental Involvement provides the opportunity of making lifelong friends.
How to Get Involved
Parents are, first of all, invited to consider their skills, interests and time available, and communicate this information to the class teacher, the principal and/or to the PTA.
Parents can consult, with appointment or in writing, with the class teacher about hobbies, skills or interests they can share with the class bearing in mind that needs change from year to year.
Parents can work in conjunction with the teachers in a planned and co-ordinated way.
Ongoing projects over a number of weeks may enhance and enrich the work the children are involved with in the classroom: parents are encouraged to discuss any ideas they may have with the teacher.
Parents can help with swimming, tours and trips, organising the school library, art and P.E. resources, and may also like to make costumes for school concerts.
Parents may get involved in many extra-curricular activities such as chess, yoga, football, music and art, and they would be particularly welcome to initiate project work with the children in the areas of the school garden, a children’s newsletter etc.
Opportunities are endless – baking, woodwork, cultural exchanges and discussion…the school welcomes all ideas.
Please note that an appendix to this document contains guidelines for parents in the classroom and a confidentiality form.
Guidelines for Getting Involved
Parents come into the classroom at the invitation of the teacher by prior arrangement and for an agreed purpose. The classroom teacher, in consultation with the Principal, holds the final decision on the suitability and viability of all suggestions.
The happiness, welfare and safety of our children are our primary concern. A child’s personal history and academic achievements are strictly confidential. Any doubts about issues of confidentiality must be discussed with the principal and/or teacher.
Respect for the teachers in their professional capacity is essential.
Discipline remains the responsibility of the teacher.
All work will be supervised by the teacher.
Parents who participate should be conscious of and sensitive to the needs of the entire class, not just the needs of their own child.
Parents coming into the classroom must consult with the teacher before inviting other parents/individuals to participate.
In the interests of safety toddlers and younger children cannot be accommodated during a classroom activity.
The highest standard of behaviour and language is expected.
Punctuality and consistency are crucial.
No fees are payable. Any expenses that you wish to reclaim must be sanctioned in advance by the Board of Management, and must be accompanied by receipts.
In the case of an ongoing project that takes place over a number of weeks, parents will meet with the teacher to discuss the activity. It remains the responsibility of the teacher to determine its appropriateness (e.g. is it suitable for the age group, has something similar already been done etc.). The teacher has the final say in the event that he/she feels it is falling short of its original aims and objectives.
The school ethos must be upheld at all times and it is important to keep in mind that the school is multi-denominational, co-educational, child centred and democratic. Consequently, respect for all the partners in education – children, teachers and parents – must be upheld at all times.
Parents will be asked to sign an agreement to abide by this school policy on Parental Involvement in the School.