Glenboi Community Primary School appointed a Family Engagement Officer to promote family involvement which has had a very positive impact on pupils’ attitudes to learning and wellbeing. The Family Engagement Officer supports parents in need and has set up an effective Parent Council. Parents’ confidence to support their children’s learning at home has improved. Connecting with families has given the school a successful method of communicating important information about school priorities with parents.
Information about the school
Glenboi Community Primary School is situated on the outskirts of Mountain Ash in the Rhondda Cynon Taf local authority. There are currently 134 pupils on roll, including 23 pupils who access full time nursery provision. There are four mixed aged mainstream classes and a social, emotional and behavioural difficulties unit, which provides specialist provision supporting learners to access mainstream education.
Around 65% of pupils are eligible for free school meals, which is significantly higher than the national average of 18.4%. The school has identified 44% of pupils with additional learning needs. All of the pupils come from English speaking homes.
Context and background to the effective or innovative practice
The school has been consistently recognised as a caring and nurturing learning environment where pupils are effectively supported to thrive both academically and in terms of their wellbeing. Key to this has been the strong focus on parental engagement, which has had a very positive impact on pupils' attitudes to learning, pupil outcomes and wellbeing.
Description of nature of strategy or activity
At the heart of the school’s approach to developing effective links with parents is a shared understanding by the whole school community about the impact that effective partnerships have on pupils’ attitudes to learning, pupils’ outcomes and wellbeing. Parental and family engagement has been a school improvement priority in the school for four years. Integral to the success of parental engagement has been the appointment of a highly effective Family Engagement Officer (FEO) who has put into place a number of strategies to promote family engagement and to help parents to support their children's learning.
The FEO has taken a number of steps:
- The FEO develops positive relationships with parents and families before pupils start at the nursery,by arranging home visits, which ensures a smooth transition into school. She maintains these positive relationships and offers social and emotional support to parents and families in need. She is also able to issue foodbank vouchers to vulnerable families.
- The FEO works with the acting headteacher to lead a very effective Parent Council, who meet on a termly basis to discuss school improvement priorities, participate in learning walks and book scrutiny as well as providing an open forum to discuss any issues or concerns raised by parents. This has been a very successful method of communicating important information about school priorities with all parents.
- The FEO works with a number of external agencies to provide interventions which support parents to engage with their children's learning , for example through FAST (Families and Schools Together – Save the Children), Families Connect, Happi Project, Impact Maths, Valleys Kids, and Family Learning. She has also provided parenting courses. Leaders have evaluated the impact of these strategies on improving outcomes for pupils.
- The FEO monitors attendance on a weekly basis with the acting headteacher. She contacts all families on the first day of absence and arranges meetings with parents to offer support if poor attendance becomes a concern. Termly booklets are sent home to advise parents of their child's individual attendance and the procedures to follow if they are absent from school. The FEO works closely with the Education Welfare Service to monitor the attendance and wellbeing of all pupils. At the end of each half term, 100% attendance is celebrated in assembly and pupils receive certificates and are entered into a raffle. These strategies have ensured that attendance in Glenboi has been at least comparable or better than that of similar schools for the last two years.
- The FEO has ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistants) training to promote the emotional wellbeing of children and young people. Other training incudes learning about children's development, increasing resilience and helping to raise attainment and training on ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). These help provide wellbeing interventions for those children who are identified as needing additional support across the school.
- As Deputy Safeguarding Officer the FEO liaises with externals agencies such as Resilient Families and the children’s services of the local authority. She co-ordinates referrals to agencies such as speech and language, neurodevelopment and the MASH (Multi-agency safeguarding hub) team. She also attends case conferences and core group meetings to support vulnerable children and their families.
What impact has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?
There is a very positive relationship between the school and its families, based on trust and respect, and this has had a positive impact on pupil outcomes, attitudes to learning and wellbeing.
Parent questionnaires state that 100% of parents are satisfied with the school, 100% of parents feel well informed about their child’s progress and 99% of parents feel that the school communicates well with them.
Parents’ confidence to support their children’s learning at home has improved. Family engagement has been identified as a strong aspect of the school.
How have you shared your good practice?
The school is sharing its good practice with parents, governors and the local community through monthly newsletters, the school website, and through social media. It promptly disseminates the minutes of governing body, Parent Council and Friends of Glenboi meetings. Good practice is also shared via regular school-to-school working within the cluster and school improvement group.