Joining a Parent Council is just one of the many ways parents can get involved with their child’s school. But what opportunities do parent councils offer parents of pupils who require additional support for learning? We asked Cheryl Burnett, Vice Chair of the National Parent Forum of Scotland (NFPS), to consider this question.
Cheryl, who is a member of a Parent Council himself and has a child with additional support needs herself explains:
Whilst Parent Councils can’t discuss individual parent’s experiences, there are good opportunities for parent councils to promote best practice and for raising awareness of additional support for learning issues at school and local authority level.
How can Parent Councils help?
- promote inclusion of children with additional support needs with the wider parent forum
- share information about how additional support for learning can be provided
- set up, in partnership with parents and the local authority, an area-wide support for learning forum for sharing information and practice
- encourage their schools to organise information sessions where parents can get advice and information
- make sure that additional support for learning appears as a regular item for discussion at parent council meetings so school staff can update them on, for example, literacy and other learning projects
- introducing an ASL representative or setting up an ASL sub group, as required
- reflecting (and acting) on the barriers that face some parents in getting involved with the school, their child’s learning or the parent council itself.
Parent Councils can also consider the difficulties some parents face in finding information about the school, their child’s learning or additional support for learning in general. They can promote agencies such as Enquire who can advise parents about any aspect of additional support for learning.”
The NPFS provides a national voice for Parent Councils. For more information about the Forum visit their website at: www.parentforumscotland.org The Forum welcomes comments and suggestions from parents and carers. These can be provided through local parent council representatives. Parents should contact their child’s school to find out more about their Parent Council.