Last Updated: Friday, February 26, 2021

Involving parents, children, staff and partners in improvement planning - Burnside Primary School - Angus

What is this?

​​​​This practice example describes a partnership approach that Burnside Primary School have taken to implement a whole school improvement agenda with a focus on communication skills and spoken vocabulary.​

Who is this for?

​This exemplar will be useful to all practitioners involved in early years settings and primary schools.

​How to use this exemplar to improve practice?​

This exemplar and attached documents along with the reflective questions can be used to help practitioners consider how best to drive forward improvement through whole school approaches, partnership working and targeted support.​

Reflective questions

  • How well do you involve parents, families, children and staff in self-evaluation and planning for improvement?
  • How well do you seek out and respond positively to potential partnerships which will lead to better outcomes for the children you work with?
  • Does the curriculum experienced by your learners reflect the school vision? How do you know?
  • How do you ensure that children have the communication skills necessary to generate wellbeing outcomes for themselves?


PDF file: Developing language and communication skills​ (106 KB)

Explore this exemplar

​What was done?​

A questionnaire was sent home to parents and families asking which skills were deemed important for children to develop in order to become successful, lifelong learners. Responses overwhelmingly identified communication skills as being vitally important which then became part of the school’s improvement agenda.

The focus on communication skills supported the school’s vision of providing opportunities for children to develop a language of learning.  This would enable them to have the skills, knowledge and understanding to generate wellbeing outcomes for themselves and help prepare them for the future.

​More detailed information can be found in the attached document.


Involving parents, families pupils, staff and partners in improvement planning is key to promoting positive change.

Findings from the school’s ongoing self-evaluation and reflection procedures showed that communication skills, vocabulary development and tools for listening and talking were identified as areas for development.

What was the impact?​

The school has seen the following improvements and impacts:

  • parents are more informed and able to see their child’s progression in learning
  • children are able to take their parents through the learning
  • more meaningful engagement with parents
  • parent helpers have been upskilled
  • a significant improvement in children’s vocabulary
  • progress on the listening and talking rating scale
  • a consistent research based approach to teaching vocabulary from early years to primary 7
  • a shared understanding of the importance of developing vocabulary through explicit teaching to help children become successful learners
  • more targeted support for children who have participated in the approach
  • greater staff confidence in: using this approach with children; understanding of the stages of language development; and how best to tailor support for children
  • changes to the school environment, support communication and language development​​