The Gathered Together team were at the Scottish Learning Festival last week. It’s an amazing event bringing together a huge range of organisations involved in education and children’s learning – from Skills Development Scotland to Amnesty International. This year was the first time that parents had been officially invited to attend and the National Parent Forum Scotland (NPFS) and our partners Scottish Parent Teacher Council had a “Parent Connect” stall just for parents. It seemed to be constantly busy- and not just because of the tempting home baking available! There were sessions on how parents can support their children with literacy and numeracy and what Parent Councils do, visiting displays from organisations supporting families- including Gathered Together and vast amounts of information about parents’ rights, the Curriculum for Excellence and the role of Parent Councils.
We were able to make some great contacts from the festival- particularly with the NPFS who are doing a lot of work with the Scottish government and Education Scotland, including advising on the new “Parent Zone” website. From talking to people at the festival there is a real interest in getting parents more involved in schools and using creative ways to use parents’ skills and knowledge – such as using parents from ethnic minorities to help introduce new languages.
Our seminar on the Thursday was fully booked- 100 delegates had signed up to attend- and we were able to explore the impact that parental involvement has on their children. For example did you know that parental involvement matters more than parent’s educational background, household income or ethnic background? The level of parental involvement in their child’s education is the best indicator of how well a child will do and can overcome the big barriers of poverty and language.
Our seminar was also the premier of our interview with Marilyn Gordon from Golfhill primary school. Marilyn is an English as an Additional Language teacher and has set up a group for parents who speak English as another language to help them support their children with their learning. It has been an incredibly positive experience for everyone involved- the children have gain confidence and are now at the same level of ability as their class mates, parents are more comfortable coming into the school and able to support their children with their learning (and have the confidence to use their native language when doing homework) and the school has gained active, involved parents who are helping Marilyn with making resources and helping with Interfaith events.
We’ve now started to add videos to our website- if you would like to see the interview with Marilyn please go to the “video” section in our website and let us know what you think.
If you are interested in getting a copy of the presentation then please email us.
Here are some pictures from the seminar: