We believe that parents and carers have rights and responsibilities with respect to what happens to their child. We understand that parents and families have major influences on their child’s development: parents and carers are the child’s primary educators and there is a strong relationship between parental involvement in education and positive learning outcomes. Effective work with parents and carers requires parental engagement. It needs to be tailored to the specific needs of the child and family and needs to be culturally sensitive. Both school and parent belief systems need to be carefully accounted for when seeking parental engagement. Effective work with parents and carers should promote independence and self-reliance and should be integrated with other support for child.
The basis of effective collaboration with parents and carers is mutual sharing of relevant knowledge and skills considered to be of benefit to the family and the child In this model each partner recognises the different skills, experiences and knowledge of each of the other partners; each partner values the skills, experiences and knowledge of the other partners; all the partners recognise the need for the input of each of the partners; each partner feels valued. Our working relationship must be characterised by a shared sense of purpose, mutual respect and the willingness to negotiate. We share information, responsibility, skills, decision-making and accountability. Partnership involves building relationships based on trust, mutual respect, sharing of information and a willingness to learn from each other. There should therefore be a presumption that information will be shared with parents unless this is likely to put the child at risk.
Trust in the family-school relationship requires confidence that each partner will act in a way to benefit or sustain the relationship, or the goals of the relationship, to achieve positive outcomes for the child. The capacity of parents to engage successfully in this partnership is influenced by practical considerations, by their own emotional needs, the relationship between them as parents, their relationship with their child, their skills and understanding, and by their beliefs about the possibility of change.
Aims and Approaches
Our work with parents and carers therefore has a number of interlinked aims and we deploy a range of strategies and approaches achieve. These are:
To safeguard the child, we:
- Ensure regular ongoing communication between home and school
- Carry out home visits
- Provide education to parents about risk
- Have robust systems of record keeping and reporting
To build positive relationships between home and school, we:
- Ensure communication between home and school
- Allocate of a key worker (Child and Family Mentor)to each parent and carer
- Make regular telephone calls
- Ensure a high degree of availability of staff during and outside the school day
- Provide positive feedback about each child
To engage parents in partnership, we:
- Establish shared goals
- Co-create strategies
- Adopt a solution-oriented approach
- Identify strengths in parents: acknowledge and build on these
- Agree manageable tasks
- Recognise successes
- Involve parents in activities in school and trips
To enable parents to support academic learning, we:
- Have clear systems around homework
- Model and coach strategies to support child’s learning
- Support the learning needs of parents
To help build positive relationships between parent and child, we:
- Create opportunities for positive interaction in school
- Organise opportunities for positive interaction out of school
- Communicate positives about child
To provide emotional support for parents, we provide:
- Opportunities to be heard
- Access to counselling
To Increase parenting capacity, we:
- Provide education about child development and learning
- Deliver parenting training courses
- Model behaviour management strategies
- Foster parental belief in possibility of progress
- Role-play and rehearse strategies with parents
- Agree weekly home assignments
To support the relationship between the child’s parents, we:
- Arrange joint meetings to explore positive ways of interacting as family
- Create opportunities to share positive strategies to support the child
- Deliver family therapy
To provide practical family support work, we:
- Offer support and advice around household management
- Advocate for parents in their dealings with other agencies (e.g. in relation to benefits, housing, school transition etc.)
We will always involve parents and children in planning and reviewing progress. We make every effort to communicate clearly and regularly with parents and carers of children with SEND about, for example:
- how we support their children
- their achievements and their well-being
- their participation in the full life of our school
We try to communicate in plain English.
We welcome and value feedback on how well we are working with our parents.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Who do I talk to in the school if I have questions about my child’s SEND?
- The first person to talk to is your child’s Class Teacher who will always be happy to meet you, listen to your concerns and discuss how well your child is making progress in day to day lessons; about friendships and personal development.
Q. How do I raise concerns about my child?
- If you have questions or concerns about the particular special educational needs of your child, the school’s SENDCO will listen carefully to your concerns, explain the different ways in which the school supports your child and when possible and appropriate come to an agreement about changes to provision and/or support. It will also be possible to meet members of the specialist services who are working with your child; the SENDCO will organise this meeting.
Q. How will you make sure I am involved in planning and reviewing?
- We review every child’s progress each term and we will invite you to come to the school to discuss progress and next steps with the SENDCO. The SENDCO keeps a careful record of all meetings and an overview of records, provision and the progress of your child.
Q. What can I reasonably expect from the school?
- We will involve you when we are assessing your child’s needs; when we are planning support and when we are reviewing progress. We make sure we tell you what is happening in terms of support for your child and how well he/she is progressing. We keep records of our work with children with SEND which you can look at and contribute to.
Q. Where can I find information about how the school works in partnership with parents and carers of children with SEND?
- You will find information and support in several places, for example: our SEND policy on the school’s website our bulletins, which contain information about meetings with teachers, presentations about how to help your child.
- You will also find lots of information about how different services in Camden provide help and support to children with SEND and their parents – on Camden Local Authority web site http://www.localoffer.camden.gov.uk
Q. How can you help me to help my child at home?
- We provide advice on how to support your child’s learning and send home books.
- We run Parent Workshops on aspects of learning such as Maths and Literacy.
Q. Is there a special service in Camden that supports and advises parents about issues such as assessment and provision?
- Yes. It’s called the Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS). It is funded by Camden Local Authority but is totally independent in terms of giving advice.
- You will find information on the website: http://www.localoffer.camden.gov.uk/template/13/special-educational-needs-and-disability-information-advice-and-support
- The person in charge of the service is Victor Baldock. Email = Victor.Baldock@camden.gov.uk Tel number = 020 7974 6264
- You can also contact the new Camden Service – Independent Supporters – who work directly with young people and the parents of children being assessed for an EHC plan. There is more information on these links to the KIDS organization:
Q. What if I am unhappy about my child’s provision or progress?
- We always work hard to make sure that our parents are happy with what we provide for their child. However, we will address worries, concerns and complaints as soon as possible through face to face meetings where we will listen carefully to your concerns.
- If you feel that we have not been able to address your concerns satisfactorily, we have a complaints policy and procedure that you will find on our website or from our office.
- If you would prefer to speak to an independent adviser, you may wish to talk to Camden’s Parent partnership adviser, Victor Baldock on 0207 974 6264.
- Camden uses a SEND mediation service: http://www.kids.org.uk/Event/sen-mediation-service