How to use this exemplar to improve practice
The exemplar along with the reflective questions can be used to help practitioners consider their own approach to involving parents in improvement planning. You are invited to read the exemplar and then consider, individually or as a team, the following reflective questions.
• How do you use data to track parental involvement in your setting/school?
• What change do you want to see?
• How do you ensure that self-evaluation is an ongoing process and integral to the work of the setting/school?
• Do parents have regular opportunities to contribute to the school’s improvement journey?
• Can parents participate in a range of formal and informal activities to support improvement?
• Do you use attainment results to provide an overall picture of the school’s progress and to generate ideas for improvement?
• Do parents have up-to-date information on the school’s strengths and areas for improvement to help determine future priorities?
• Are parents part of the self-evaluation process to reflect on changes made and help evaluate the impact on children’s outcomes?
What was done?
A decision was taken to focus the agenda for the Parent Partnership Annual General Meeting (AGM) on school improvement planning. At the AGM, staff, parents and pupils discussed:
• current priorities
• attainment results
• school, local and national priorities
The planned activity session engaged staff, parents and pupils in identifying ideas for future developments. These were put into priority order.
Writing had been identified as a priority during a previous consultation. Parents were given the opportunity to see how the school had taken on board previous consultation feedback through a pupil led demonstration of a resource to support writing.
In order to reach the wider parent body a variety of methods were used at different times in the school year to gather the views of parents and families. These included a graffiti wall, user friendly survey (accessed through an iPad), yes/no voting cups and a suggestion box. All of these methods of gathering views were led by pupils and staff and helped feed into the improvement plan.
Tear-off slips on monthly newsletters also gave parents the opportunity to inform the school about what they thought was working well and what could be improved further.
Some parents fed back their comments through a parental suggestion box which was available at parents evening.
St John Ogilvie has always viewed self-evaluation as a key factor in identifying areas of strength and improvement. Developing positive relationships and involving parents, pupils, staff and stakeholders in improvement planning is central to raising attainment. A need was identified to find creative and effective ways to more meaningfully engage parents in the improvement planning process.
What was the impact?
The school is able to evidence:
- Increased parental involvement in the new Primary 1 induction
- Introduction of a breakfast club which is fully self-funded
- Parents feel listened to and involved in the wider life of the school.
- A shared understanding of the strengths and improvement needs of the school.
- Improved two-way communications with parents about the work of the school and its improvement journey.
- Robust self-evaluation which is reflective and takes a whole-school approach. This focuses on reducing the poverty related attainment gap. It has improved children's experiences and continues to help drive forward changes.
- Closer working with other cluster schools.
A clear rationale was developed on the use of Pupil Equity Funding to raise attainment.