During the past ten years, research both national and international, has concluded that the engagement of parents is vital to the education of children and young people. As they spend only fifteen percent of their time in school, and six times longer out of it, this is hardly surprising.
So it comes as no surprise that St Hilda’s Primary School, situated in Coldhurst (Oldham), is leading the way in supporting parents to engage with the school and also to engage with their children’s learning. As a result, in July 2009, St Hilda’s School was the first and only school in Oldham to achieve the Leading Parent Partnership Award in recognition of their efforts. Also in February 2010, OFSTED inspectors judged the school to be ‘Outstanding’ in its efforts to promote Community Cohesion and Parental Engagement.
Since this time, head teacher Gill Pursey has worked tirelessly in her vision of engaging parents and the community to further develop the school and enhance their children’s learning. Therefore when a group of enthusiastic parents approached the school and asked to organise a whole school parents meeting with a view to setting up a parents forum to give parents a voice, she jumped at this idea. Subsequently a parent meeting was organised on Tuesday 21st September 2010. Parent Governor Mohammed Islam and Mr Irfan Chishti MBE (Community Cohesion Advisor at The Oldham Academy North) were also in attendance.
It was a very informal meeting which focused on: Parents engaging with the school and engaging with their children’s learning. Supporting the engagement of parents who are already engaged with their children’s learning, as well as reaching out to the less engaged. Finally, the process of selecting a representative parent council.
Mr Ansari (parent) spoke of the importance of parental engagement. His focus was on the significant role that mothers play in supporting their children. He felt that women play a pivotal role and he urged mothers that were present to nominate themselves to be selected for the role of parent councillor.
A delighted Gill Pursey commented ‘I was really pleased with the meeting and I am hopefully looking forward to receiving the applications for this new role. I am really excited about the possibilities the parent council will bring!’
Mr Chishti of The Oldham Academy North congratulating the St Hilda’s leadership and the parents stated ‘forging this excellent partnership has been an inspiration and we at The Oldham Academy North are also committed to building solid parent-teacher-student relations.’
Finally, nomination forms have been sent out to all the parents of children who attend St Hilda’s School, and the school is urging parents and carers to return the forms back to school as soon as possible.
If you would like more information please feel free to contact the school.
by Motahir Khan