Your role as a parent
The role of the parent in a child’s education has long been recognised as a significant factor in educational success.
For children in care, the Rees Report, The educational progress of looked after children 2015, found that most children who performed well in education could identify relationships with people to whom they felt gratitude and didn't wish to let down.
Young people attribute their education progress to the characteristics, skills and commitment of individual teachers and carers. (Rees 2015)
For this reason, it's important that you play an active role in the education of the children in your care. It's equally important to build positive relationships with your child’s school, especially your child’s class teacher, key worker or learning mentor.
Ways you can support your child
- Attend meetings, parents' evenings and information events, to build positive relationships with staff at your child's school.
- Share information that might impact on your child’s learning and behaviour with key staff.
- Support home learning expectations. Find out what homework your child's expected to do when, and build these times into your weekly schedule.
- Send them to school ready to learn each morning.
- Establish age-appropriate bedtime routines.
- Make sure they eat breakfast, and talk positively to them about what they'll be doing at school that day.
- Get them to school on time and develop a habit of good attendance.
- Take an interest in their school experiences. Make time at the end of the school day to ask them about their day and encourage them to share their learning.
- Teach them organisational skills; help them to pack their school bag the night before and develop independence.
- Teach them study skills. Help them to identify what helps them to learn.
- Encourage them to see the value of their learning and understand why they need the skills they're developing. Talk to them about their aspirations.
- Familiarise yourself with the school behaviour policy.
What to do if you've got concerns
If you're concerned about the education your child's receiving, follow the steps below. By following this guidance, you should be able to sort things out with your child's school quickly, so that things you're concerned about don't get any worse.
In the first instance, talk to your child's class teacher or form tutor about your concerns. It's probably best if you pre-arrange a meeting with them so that they've got time to listen to you without interruptions.
When you meet, discuss and agree a set of actions to try to resolve the issues you've raised. At the same time, agree a date for a second meeting to review the impact of the actions you've agreed.
If this doesn't resolve the issue, you're dissatisfied with the response from the initial meeting, or you still have concerns, you can escalate the matter. For primary this would be to the headteacher, or for secondary, the head of year. You should also tell your child's social worker about your concerns.
Your child's social worker may contact the Virtual School Head for advice on how they can best resolve the matter.
If the matter isn't resolved, the Virtual School Head will contact the school's designated teacher and work with the school to seek a long term solution.
It's really important that anyone supporting your child recognises the need to work together towards a positive outcome. Make sure your child's views are central to any decisions that are made.
Making a complaint
If you've followed the advice above and you're still not satisfied that the issues around your child's education have been satisfactorily resolved, you can make a complaint to your child's school.
To do this, you should follow the school's complaints procedure, which you'll find on their website.
Don't forget to tell your child's social worker about anything you're concerned about, and any actions that the school takes.