21st May is the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development and what a way to celebrate!! The Gathered Together Team at BEMIS introduced their brand new publications in which they share their experiences of working to support ethnic and cultural minority parents to become more involved in their children’s education and the school community. The event took place at the Scottish Parliament and was hosted by Stewart Maxwell (MSP) Convenor of the Education and Culture Committee.
My name is Judy Wasige and I am one of the Participation and Development Workers with the GT Team. Although it is only my fourth day in post, I already feel like part of the team because reading the reports has given me an opportunity of recreating their journey. Being an Ethnic Minority parent, I can relate to the findings in the reports and I know what it feels like not knowing how to help your children with their schooling because you lack the relevant skills to do so. For example, although I had taught Mathematics at secondary school in Kenya before coming to Scotland, I was unable to help my children with their mathematics homework. They used totally different approaches to solving problems from I knew so I chose not to ‘interfere’ with their learning in case I ended up confusing them instead. I also found it difficult understanding Scottish qualifications, including reading SQA certificates and was unable to advise them on progression pathways. I knew how important it was for me to be involved but left it up to them to find their way, which left me feeling guilty.
It was inspiring to hear Liz, Richard, Marion and Anna talk about their work and to see some of the parents, children and teachers who have been involved with the project so far. A wide range of stakeholders, including from Scottish Parent’s Teacher’s Council (SPTC), Education Scotland, General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), Skills Development Scotland (SDS) , Local Authorities, English as an Additional Language (EAL) Departments and Community Groups, Further and Higher Education also attended the event. The children from St Albert’s and Golfhill Primary were very excited to see each other in the video ‘Parents as Partners’ which was also launched on at the event.
Considering the rapidly changing school population, these publications are useful in raising awareness of the issues faced by ethnic minority parents, sharing good practice and highlighting gaps in policy and practice.
For all the reports just click here
Here is a link to the video