Last week’s sleep over at our school for the Pattaya class was a direct result of close collaboration and considerations for the needs of the class and their parents. It was attended by students from the Bangkok class, ex-students and some parents came to help out too. There was pizza-making, bowling, a movie and popcorn.
At the end of last term we sent out a questionnaire to gauge the needs of our parents and students. One of the points that came out clearly was the need for more joint activities where parents and staff help set up after school programmes. Both the After School Club (ECA) and the Saturday Club are great successes. However, we found that a number of students at our school had not experienced a sleepover with their friends. After careful discussions with key parents and students, a one night school sleep over was planned.
The VIE parents and school professionals (teachers, therapists, administrators) are all ‘stakeholders’ in children’s education and their collaboration can have marked impact on a child’s education. The benefits of positive parent/teacher, home/school collaboration has been recognized and promoted by a number of UK governmental reports and policy documents over many years.
As early as 1967, reports such as The Plowden Report and the Bullock Report published 1975 both agreed that there was a greater need for more parental participation and involvement in children’s education and for schools to do more to foster and encourage this relationship and jointly act on their needs.
More recently, the Special Educational Needs and Disability UK (SEND) code of practice 2014, also argues for more partnership between schools and parents and for school to ‘build trust’ with parents and help facilitate their needs.
We have seen that when schools actively work together with families to support the child’s learning, the child is more likely to succeed. Not just in school, but throughout life. Henderson and Berla (1994) consider parental involvement as being more important than anything any other factor and suggest;
“The most accurate predictor of a student’s achievement in school is not income or social status, but the extent to which that student’s family is able to;
- Create a home environment that encourages learning
- Express high (but not unrealistic) expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers
- Become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community
(Henderson and Berla, 1994, Cited in Olsen and Fuller, 2010, p.129-130)
Point number 3 – “Become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community” – was what we focused on yesterday. We have been trying to forge a stringer home-school relationships and to better meet the needs of every individual student in our school. By working closely with parents and care givers we can get a much broader picture of the student’s life and experience, thus make specially tailored programmes to support our students. Last week’s sleepover was one of those ideas, where parents and staff came together to put on a special event for a group of students. Students who wanted to have a night away from home in a safe but familiar environment. The evening was a great success and we look forward to see more partnership between schools and parents.
A big thank you to the parents who came help and to Mr. Jack and Mr. Michael who organized the event.