Parents as Partners



  1. Introduction
The staff and Board of Management of St. Teresa’s P.S. are committed to providing the optimum learning experience for all our pupils in our school through a holistic education. We acknowledge the role of parents as partners in education and as the primary educators of their children and encourage them to be actively involved in the life of the school. Communication between school and home is extremely important and should be open and positive. We endeavour to create an open and welcoming atmosphere in our school. This policy outlines strategies adopted by the school to promote positive home-school relations. Through mutual understanding and collaboration where the focus in the child, it is expected that all stakeholders will work for the benefit of the child and his/her learning.  
  1. Rationale
This policy aims to outline the benefits to pupils through a partnership approach between the Board of Management, school staff and parents. It is created with reference to DES Circular 24/91 and with reference to the Education Act 1998 and the Education Welfare Act 2000. The policy sets out clearly procedures for the sharing of information in relation to pupil progress and attainment.  
  1. Aims
In developing this policy the school aims
  • to develop positive communication between home and school
  • to develop the methods of communication in order for parents to have access to information on their child’s attainment and progress in school
  • to clearly outline the methods of communication between school and home
  • to welcome parents as a resource to assist with their child’s education through the use of their skillset
  • to develop a sense of partnership between parents and the school for the benefit of pupils
  1. Communication with Parents
The school aims to provide open and frequent communication with parents through a variety of methods. It is expected that this communication will be positive and helpful to both parents and to the school.  
  1. Parent/Teacher Meetings
Parents are encouraged to keep in regular communication with teachers with regard to their child’s progress or any difficulties that may arise. The homework journal can be used for notes between parents and teachers to aid daily/weekly communication or brief and informal meetings can be arranged as a means to facilitate the transfer of information from parent to teacher and from teacher to parent. Parents are welcome to approach teachers for a quick word at the beginning or end of the day should the need arise. Many problems can be solved by early communication. If parents require a longer meeting, they should make an appointment through the school office for a mutually agreed time. This will allow for the teacher to arrange cover for his/her class and allow for a meeting where both parties can give the meeting their full attention without interruption.   Formal Parent/Teacher Meetings are held once per year during the month of November for all pupils. At this meeting teachers can give parents a verbal report on their child’s academic and social progress. Parents can supply important information regarding their child at this meeting, should it be necessary. Notification of the date of these parent/teacher meetings is usually given out with the school calendar in September. Teachers will arrange a specific time closer to the date of these meetings. Should a longer meeting be required this can be facilitated at another agreed time. Learning support Teachers will be available to meet with parents on the day of formal parent/teacher meetings or at other times during the year by appointment.  
  1. Text
The school regularly communicates with parents through its text service to parents. This service is used to eliminate the use and cost of paper and to inform parents in a quick and efficient manner of various school events and particular dates. Emergency arrangements such as school closure or cancelled after school clubs due to bad weather etc. may also be communicated by text. Parents are requested to keep all contact details up to date with the school and to notify the school immediately of such changes.  
  1. Website
The school website is regularly updated and serves as a means to communicate with parents about events and occasions in the school. Newsworthy items are regularly posted to give parents a view of what is happening in the school. The website also serves as a way of publishing school policies as information for parents. Some classes have their own blog and parents can access particular information pertaining to their child’s class activities from time to time.  
  1. Letters
From time to time communication with parents may be by way of letter from the principal or from individual teachers. Forms for items such as swimming, school tours, emergency contact forms, enrolments and information letters may be sent out to parents when this is deemed the best means of communication.  
  1. Newsletter
A newslettter is sent out to parents on a monthly basis approximately. The newsletter seeks to highlight school events, carry helpful reminders and information for parents and to serve as a window to happenings in the school. Classes contribute to the newsletter on a rotational basis and the production is very much a school team effort.    
  1. Reporting to Parents and End-of-Year Reporting
Teachers are happy to give parents an update on their child’s progress through the formal or informal parent/teacher meetings during the school year. School report cards are used at the end of each year in early June for pupils from Junior Infant level to 6th class level to communicate pupils’ progress with parents. These report cards cover both academic and social progress. Standardised Test results in both literacy and numeracy are included on reports (1st - 6th classes) and reports from learning support teachers are appended to the main Report Card. Infant teachers compile Infant Assessment Profiles during the children’s infant years in order to gain a clear indication of the children’s academic, social and emotional progress. This enables the teachers to share such information with parents during meetings.    
  1. Junior Infant Induction and Meeting for Parents of In-coming infants
In-coming Junior Infants are invited to come to the school with their parents in June with a view to starting school at the end of August or early September. Parents are supplied with an Information Pack and the ‘new’ pupils get an opportunity to visit the school and to experience a Junior Infant classroom for a short while. This will help with the settling in phase for Junior Infants in the new school year.   A meeting is held each year in June for the parents of in-coming Junior Infants who are due to start school in the next school year. Parents are addressed by the principal and teachers who have previously taught this age group. At the meeting information about the school is given as well as information on the infant curriculum. Practical advice about a child starting school is discussed and parents are given an opportunity to ask questions. It is hoped that by this means that parents will be reassured about their child starting school and any anxieties that parents may have will be alleviated. This will provide for a positive start for their child in Junior Infants.  
  1. Individual Education Plan (IEP) Meetings
Children who are granted resource hours by the National Council for special Education (NCSE) have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). This process is also followed in the case of pupils who attend the class for Mild General Learning Disability in St. Teresa’s P.S. This plan is to identify and set out pupils’ needs and how best to address them so that children with special educational needs can reach their full potential. Parents are consulted by way of a meeting with the class teacher, SEN teacher and principal in devising the IEP. On-going communication between parents and teachers is vital in the success of the IEP.  
  1. Home School Community Liaison (HSCL) Role
The school currently has the services of a Home School Community Liaison Teacher (HSCL). The idea behind HSCL is to provide a link between home, school and the community in a number of ways. ‘Home-visits’ are offered throughout the school year, as a means of bridging the gap between home and school. Support and advice when needed are also offered to parents. Courses are offered to parents through HSCL and some of these courses are provided by parents for parents. Through the HSCL teacher, parents can avail of support in the school when required. The link provides a particular means of communication between parents and the school.  
  1. Parents’ Association (P.A.)
All parents of children attending the school are automatically members of the P.A St. Teresa’s P.S. has a very active and vibrant Parents’ Association which is affiliated to the National Parents’ Council. The P.A. is properly constituted with its own constitution. Officers of the P.A. meet regularly with the principal of the school and the school’s deputy principal and HSCL teacher attend monthly P.A. meetings. These meetings allow for a valuable exchange of views and consultation. The P.A has been and continues to be a vital support for the school through its fundraising activities which has provided many resources for the school.  
  1. BOM Membership
All primary schools are managed by a group of four or eight people in larger schools like St. Teresa’s who have an interest in the provision of primary schooling in their local area. This team is made up of parents’ nominees, teachers, and representatives of the patron and community representatives who have a particular interest or expertise. The Board of Management generally meets once a month during the school year. The board of management manages the school on behalf of the patron and for the benefit of students. Its job is to make sure that the school is run efficiently and provides all students with a good education. A new Board is elected every four years. The Board ratifies all school policies.Two parents’ nominees are elected to the Board of Management by parents, one being a father and one being a mother of children who currently attend the school. Since parents are the primary educators of their children their representatives have a critical role to play in the management of schools and in supporting the education of their children at school.  
  1. Assemblies
School Assembly is held each fortnight throughout the year. This is an important event in the life of the school. It gives the whole school a chance to meet as an entire body. It is an opportunity to highlight excellence and to reward pupils for their endeavours. Each class has an opportunity to host assembly and to perform songs and compile prayers of the faithful. Parents and grandparents of the class hosting assembly are always welcome and are encouraged to attend.  
  1. Parents as Classroom Helpers and Volunteers
St. Teresa’s P.S. encourages parents to become involved as helpers/volunteers within the school. Parents are involved helping out in classrooms with such areas as reading, sports, art & crafts, and Maths Games and Maths for Fun. Parent volunteers successfully run the School Book Club which promotes a love of reading for children. Volunteer parents of 6th class pupils work as a committee to support pupils and other parents in preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation.  
  1. Complaints Procedure
The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation and the Catholic Primary School Managers’ Association reached agreement in 1993 on a procedure for dealing with complaints by parents against teachers. Please refer to Complaints Procedure document on school website.       Ratification This policy was ratified by the Board of Management of St. Teresa’s P.S. on:   Date: 24 February 2015   __________________________________________ Brendan Lynch Chairperson, Board of Management   Review This policy will be kept under on-going review as the need arises.