Resources for Parent Councils and schools

Good Practice

3 - Involving All Parents - Good Practice for Schools2 - Involving All Parents - Good Practice for PCs

From our work with schools, Parent Councils and ethnic minority parents we have heard so many examples of brilliant ideas to get parents involved in their children’s learning and school communities. We have created two good practice guides for schools and Parent Councils and regularly share stories of good practice on our blog– please let us know if there are new ideas you would like to share


“I do think the training would be helpful. I would like help understanding the barriers to ethnic minority parent involvement and finding ways to reach more people…also, how to retain members so that they stay involved and feel they’ve something to offer rather than leaving after the first meeting”

Parent Council member, BEMIS/SPTC survey 2013

In response to this need Gathered Together, in partnership with the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, have developed training for Parent Councils to help them better engage with ALL parents. It gives Parent Councils a chance to look at the good practice they are already doing, improve their understanding of the barriers that parents face (particularly parents from ethnic minorities) and practical ideas for how they can overcome these barriers.

The sessions are lively and interactive, giving participants the opportunity to share ideas with each other as well as learning more about the experiences of ethnic minority parents. SPTC have now included the “Involving all parents” training into the programme of workshops that they offer to Parent Councils- you can find out if a session is coming to your area here.

Here’s John, one of the parents who attended our training talking about how it has helped him

Bespoke support

For schools and Parent Councils that wanted extra support to improve how they engage with parents from ethnic minorities, Gathered Together offered the opportunity to recieve support tailored to the individual needs of the school. This will included:

  • Initial meeting with PC and/or school staff “Equalities and Engagement” training
  • Consultation and intervention
  • Further training session, as required
  • Longitudinal follow-up and response as required

Applications for the bespoke support have now closed but you can read about the schools we are working with here

The Experiences of Ethnic Minority parents

Yes I helped them (with homework) in primary school but my older children are in high school, so I can’t help now as the system is harder, I don’t understand the subjects. I found this hard (Mother, Palestine)

Gathered Together has been consulting EM parents about their experiences of Scottish schools, the barriers they face to getting involved and their level of understanding of how the school system “works” in Scotland. From conducting workshops with over 350 EM parents we produced a report, highlighting the barriers that they face to getting involved (including cultural, language and lack of confidence) and their level of knowledge around the role of the Parent Council. You can read the full report here

We also conducted a survey into the experiences of 164 families from ethnic minorities, exploring their experiences of contact with school, level of knowledge about the education system and their levels of confidence in supporting their children’s learning. You can read the full report and the five briefing papers here

The Gathered Together Toolkit- “Understanding the Scottish education system”

For parents new to Scotland the education system can be bewildering. Many parents do not feel they understand how their children are taught, the way they are assessed and all the supports that are available. We believe that it is vital parents have the right information so that they can support their children’s learning and give them the help and advice to fulfill their potential. Our toolkit is designed for anyone working with ethic minority families and designed to give an overview of four key areas:

  • The Scottish education system
  • Post 16 Choices
  • Parental Involvement
  • Keeping children safe, healthy and happy

For more information and to download the toolkit click here


Parent councils and schools are already doing amazing things to involve all parents and carers from different backgrounds in the life of the school community. This section is here to share those positive stories and inspire your parent council or school to celebrate Scotland’s growing diversity.

Interview with Marilyn Gordon about Golfhill primary learning group 

St Albert’s Primary Bilingual story telling group 

St Mungo’s Academy EAL parent group

Interview with Don McPherson, head teacher of Denny Primary 

Interview with Ahlam Souidi, Oakgrove primary Parent Council