As the Gathered Together Project comes to the end of its funding I thought it would be a good time to ask the staff team to reflect on some of the aspects of their work over the last 2-3 years. Marion shares her favourite memories from the project.
For me, one of the most important parts of our work was in capturing and sharing the stories of teachers, parents and Parent Councils- letting people know about what it’s like for a parent new to Scotland to have to cope with an entirely new system and celebrating all the good practice that is happening across Scotland. Many of my favourite moments involved going out to schools and hearing the difference that supporting parents to get involved makes.
Parents spoke about feeling “like I am not a stranger in the school”, one mother from Bulgaria said that the school had become her extended family since she joined the parent council. Getting involved gave parents a real sense of confidence and belonging which was really lovely to see. We heard stories of new friendships for parents who had previously been quite isolated and even one mother who was offered a job following helping with school, giving her the change to use her qualifications from her home country as a teacher. The teachers we spoke to were all passionate about supporting parents to get involved in the school and their children’s learning, but they also said that getting EM parents involved helped the school just as much as it helped the parents and their families. Parents were able to help with translating materials, reading stories in their home language and pass on information to other parents in the community.
But my favourite part is still probably the interviews we did with children in St Albert’s Primary and Golfhill Primary- talking about how it makes them feel when their parents come into school or help with their learning. You can see the children from St Albert’s here. It still makes my heart melt every time I watch it.