Crossing language barriers

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. Anderston primary school in Glasgow held an international ceilidh- giving parents from ethnic minorities the chance to learn “the dashing white sergeant” and for parents from Scotland to attempt Bollywood style dancing. The school found it really broke down barriers and helped parents from ethnic minorities to feel more confident and relaxed in school.

Food is also wonderful for breaking down barriers, holding an international day, where parents were asked to bring a dish from their culture was a chance to celebrate and share the different cultures within the school. Sharing food also shows parents that their culture is recognised and valued, Oakgrove primary in Glasgow found that the parents were incredibly proud of their food and loved the chance to share it with people who had never tasted it before. With food no words are needed and it helps build parents’ confidence to come into school and start becoming more involved.