Parent participation is at the core of the school and is included in our mission statement and abiding values. Parent involvement makes a significant statement about the importance of education, reinforces the values of our school, and benefits all of the members of our community. The membership of the Parent Committee at HeadStart reflects each area of the school and aims to include parents to represent the nationalities and languages of the families in our community. To be a member of the committee, all that you need is a sense of commitment and a capacity to contribute to the benefit of the school community.
Educational research on the involvement of parents in schools shows that children achieve higher levels when parents and teachers work together.
Role of the HeadStart Parent Committee
The Parent Committee is the structure through which parents/guardians at HeadStart work together for the best possible education for their children.
The Parent Committee should:
- Work with the members of the School Management Team to build effective partnership of home and school.
- Advise the School Management Team of parent’s views on policy issues and incidents that may require a review of school policy, e.g. Bullying, Safety, Homework, Enrolment, Behaviour problems etc.
- Suggest and/or help to organise extra-curricular activities with the approval of the School Management.
- Provide support for parents in the school.
- Seek out opportunities to assist parents who are experiencing barriers to their involvement, or who find involvement difficult, even intimidating, e.g., due to education, social class, language, recent immigration, newness to the system, etc.
- Suggest and help to organise events for speakers to address the parents on issues which are topical or relevant. Support, encourage and facilitate meaningful parental participation in the education of their children
The Parent Committee is not a forum for complaint against either an individual teacher or parent. The Complaints Procedure is the mechanism for this.
Parent Committee Composition
An effort is made to ensure parent representation exists from Foundation, Primary and Secondary classes and that a balanced representation of nationalities of families within the school community.
Activities in which the Parents Committee is involved
- Organising information/social events for new parents to the school
- Organising welcome events for new students to the school
- Arranging talks on topics of interest to parents, e.g. guest speaker on parenting/discipline etc.
- Providing support/organisational input to major school events
- Channelling parents views on school policy issues to school management
- Contributing to school newsletter
- Helping to organise and supervise extracurricular activities
- Organising Fund Raising Events for the school
The Parent Committee meets a minimum of 3 times in the school year on the Thursday following the mid-term break of each term. Meeting reminders and agendas are forwarded to the school management team at least 5 working days prior to the meeting. Parent committee members are asked to attend all meetings. Absence from a meeting is to be conveyed to the School Management in advance.
The primary form of communication between the school and members of the Parent Committee is through e-mail. Members of the Parent Committee are encouraged to communicate with members of the school community using the means they see most appropriate.
When parents email a request for information or assistance to a member of the Parent Committee, the issue can be forwarded directly to members of school management or can be brought up for discussion at the following Parent Committee meeting, depending on the urgency of the issue. Should a member of the Parent Committee receive an email or request which is of a sensitive nature the committee member should forward the email or communication directly to a member of management and no further communication or action should be taken without approval from school management.
The school provides administrative support to the Parent Committee. Minutes of parent committee meetings are sent to all parent committee members, are sent to parents via the weekly update, posted on the school website under the Parent Committee page and posted on the school announcement boards.
‘All aspects of the school’s partnership with parents and the community are now outstanding. The school continues a long tradition of involving parents fully in its life. The school uses a variety of mechanisms to keep parents very well informed about their children and more generally about school affairs.’ Education Development Trust (EDT) Accreditation Report, June 2017