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The Scottish Education Awards- Parents as Partners in Learning

i Dec 15th No Comments by

Scot Ed awards

The Scottish Education Awards recognise schools and centres that have developed a vibrant and progressive culture and climate of continuous innovation.

The culture and ethos should promote respect, ambition and achievement while improving outcomes for all learners in ways which eliminate inequity.

Nominations should include practical activities and projects that the establishment has undertaken, detailing the impact these strategies have had on pupils, staff, parents and the community.

  • Do you know any parents working in partnership with a school or centre to support an area of improvement in their school community?
  • Are you aware of a partner/third sector organisation supporting parents to help bring about improvements in their school community?
  • Can you describe the activity or practice that they have been involved in?
  • How have they championed partnership involvement and what impact has this had?

In what ways has this partnership impacted on:

  • children and young people
  • the whole school community
  • the wider community

Nominations close at 12 noon on Monday 15 February 2016

NOMINATE TODAY AT http://www.scottisheducationawards.org.uk/

Thriving or surviving? We want to hear your views

i Oct 20th No Comments by

Gathered Together logo4children-logo2_jpgweb

Bemis Scotland and 4Children have joined together to put on 3 workshops here in Scotland where you can give us your views on what it is like to be a parent or carer in today’s world.  Please take time to join us at one of the workshops on 30th October and give us your views.

4Children Inquiry Surveys – Britain’s Families: thriving or surviving?

Children and families charity 4Children has recently launched a major Inquiry into modern family life in Britain. Britain’s Families: thriving or surviving?” asks parents, carers and young people across the country about what it is like to live in Britain today. We want to uncover the challenges and opportunities they face, and ask what can be done to better support family life. You can read more about the Inquiry at: http://4children.org.uk/Page/thriving-or-surviving 

As part of the project, there will be three focus groups in Glasgow on Friday 30th October, for parents and carers who would be interested in participating.  BEMIS Scotland are particularly keen to make sure that the voice of the diverse ethnic minority community is heard.  The focus groups will be taking place at Centrum Building, 38 Queen Street, Glasgow at the following times:


When:          Friday 30th October

At:                11.00 am – 12.30 pm

OR                1.00 pm – 2.30 pm

OR                3.00 pm – 4.30 pm

Where:         The Board Room, 1st Floor, Centrum Building, 38 Queen Street, Glasgow

Please book your session here

If you have any questions please contact liz.mcconnell@bemis.org.uk

If you are unable to attend a focus group but are interested in taking part in the Inquiry, 4Children are also running two surveys to gather views from people in England, Scotland and Wales. One is for children and young people (aged under 21) and the other is for parents and carers. These are available via the following links:

Children and Young People Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/inquiryYP

Parents and Carers Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/inquiryparent

The surveys take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. To thank those who participate for their time, we are offering everyone who completes one of the surveys the chance to be entered into a prize draw to win £50 of Love to Shop vouchers.


Bespoke Support- the beginnings!

i Sep 29th No Comments by

In August we offered to provide “Bespoke Support” for schools and Parent Councils wanting help to better engage with the ethnic minority families in their school. The closing date for applications was 14 September and we had a really hard time choosing the six schools and Parent Councils we would be able to work with. After a lot of discussion and cups of coffee we managed to choose six schools- all with distinct needs, diverse populations and a real desire to reach out to all parents. The people we’ll be working with are:

Corpus Christi Primary School and Parent Council (Glasgow)

Dalry Primary Parent Council (Edinburgh)

Hillpark Secondary Parent Council (Glasgow)

St Francis Xavier Primary School and Parent Council (Falkirk)

St Mary’s Primary Parent Council (Edinburgh)

St Mungo’s Primary Parent Council (Alloa)

We’ll be sharing our journey with each of the schools here and are really excited about learning about what’s happening in each school and how we can best support them- keep an eye on this blog to find out more


The school is my family

i Apr 20th No Comments by


For most families moving to the UK, the first communities they come into contact with are their children’s schools. But becoming a part of the school community can be a challenge.

The Gathered Together project (run by BEMIS, a body supporting the development of Scotland’s ethnic minorities voluntary sector, and the Scottish Parent Teacher Council) works with parents from ethnic minorities to get them more involved with their schools and with their children’s learning.

Says Lorraine Dougan, head teacher at Golfhill primary in Glasgow, where over a third of the pupils don’t have English as a first language.: “Parents who speak little English are often less confident about coming into the school, which means that they tend not to come to parents’ nights, school events . . . and this means they are missing out on really important aspects of their child’s learning and being part of that wider school community.”

In Gathered Together’s conversations with parents, language, confidence and lack of information come up time and time again as barriers stopping them taking a more active role in their children’s school.

When you’re not confident in you language even the simplest contact with school can be stressful. We met one mum who spoke about how difficult it was for her to phone the school to say her child was sick.

The Scottish education system is also different from other cultures. Many countries have regular tests so that parents know where their child stands in relation to their classmates, and some parents find it disconcerting that this is not the practice in Scotland.

There’s a real need to engage with parents who are new to Scotland so that they understand how their children are being taught and how to support them- and reassure them that their children are learning. In an effort to engage with the parents who speak English as an additional language (EAL), Marilyn Gordon, Golfhill’s EAL teacher, started a “learning together club”. This group gives parents the chance to work with their children, see how they are being taught and learn ways of supporting their children’s learning.

Gordon says that when parents came to school and worked with her, “the confidence levels of the children just were obviously going up and up and up. The expression on their faces when they knew that their parent had come into school to work with them – they were absolutely delighted.

“It shows that the parents and teacher are working together and the children could see that the parents were part of the school life, that it was a place for families and not just for children.”

Getting parents involved in their children’s school has a massive impact on the whole family. One parent talked to us about the challenges posed by her children growing up in a culture different from her own and how getting involved in the school helped bridge that gap and gave her an understanding of the world her sons were living in.

Another mother at Wynford Nursery in Maryhill said that getting involved in a parents group run by the nursery helped her feel less isolated by giving her the chance to make friends with other parents, find out about local clubs and services – it gave her a sense of belonging.

Maria, a parent at Golfhill Primary, is originally from Bulgaria and is now firmly part of the school community, and is involved in the Families in Partnership Programme and the Parent Council. She’s incredibly positive about the importance of getting involved: “To be involved in the school here makes a big difference for my daughter because she sees me in school, she sees that I’m taking part in the Parent Council and she’s really proud.

“She says, ‘Oh, this is my mum, she’s doing this and that in school’. I know the teachers very well and I can have a chat with them anytime- so it’s like a small family- the school is my family”


Taken from an article on Gathered Together from Migrant Voice http://www.migrantvoice.org/voices/pagenews/the-gathered-together-project.html 

Mother’s advice, in their mother tongue

i Mar 12th No Comments by

For Mother’s day we’ve been thinking about all the wonderful mothers we’ve met over the past two years of the project. In our interviews with parents we’ve been asking them to give advice to parents in their first language and wanted to share some of the words of wisdom we’ve been gathering.

Ahlam was a member of Oakgrove Primary Parent Council in Glasgow. She’s been really active member of her community and has helped the school to reach out to all parents, particularly those from ethnic minorities. Ahlam is from Algeria and here she gives advice in her native Arabic

Ji Bian (or Jessie as she is called in Scotland) is a parent at Wyndford Nursery in Glasgow, she’s been involved in the “Well Chosen Words” project which the nursery ran in partnership with Maryhill Integration Network, supporting parents to find the right words and help each other to access local services and activities. She has helped the nursery with translating signs into Chinese and interpreting for parents who are less confident in their English. Here’s her advice to parents in Chinese

Bushra is one of the volunteers at St Albert’s Primary’s Bilingual story telling group. The bilingual story telling group gives children a chance to hear stories in English and Urdu, celebrating the mother tongue. Here she talks about her experience of getting involved in the group and gives advice to parents in Urdu.


What advice would you give parents? We would love to hear from you