Like many parents time is a barrier that stops many parents from ethnic minorities getting involved. We met one single mother from Lithuania; she works full time and has one child at school and another in nursery. While she would like to get more involved in the school she said she didn’t see how it would be possible- most activities take place in the evening or when she is working. Even attending parents’ evening is difficult as she has no child care. Many parents who have moved to Scotland don’t have the same social supports of family and friends to help out with child care and they can often become very isolated from the community.
Language is a big barrier for ethnic minority parents, not just in being able to speak English but also having the confidence to speak and being able to understand strong local accents. Parent Councils have limited resources and aren’t able to hire interpreters, however we’ve heard stories about some great work to cross the language divide using the food and dance to engage with all parents. (more…)
This segment shows examples of different barriers or situations that ethnic and cultural minority parents have faced.
Have you ever faced similar issues? How did you overcome them?
Q Why do you think parental involvement is important?
Ahlam: It is important for parents to be involved in the school, to help the performance of the school – their voices will be heard and taken on board in order to make positive changes from which our children will benefit. The involvement of the parents in the school will increase not only parents’ confidence but also their children’s.
In our work with parents from ethnic minorities we’ve met a lot of parents who are new to Scotland and struggling to adjust to the thousands of differences they encounter. We met one parent from Poland who struggled to understand why the school wanted her to bake a cake for them to sell to raise money for the school- why couldn’t she just give the school money? (In Poland if the school needs extra equipment they will approach local businesses to help them).