From our work with ethnic minority parents, we know that they place a really high value on education and want their children to achieve their full potential. However they often did not have the confidence or the knowledge to be able to support their children- particularly in important areas like supporting their children’s learning, choosing subjects and knowing what options are available for young people leaving school. You can read more about our research into the experiences of EM parents here. To try and address these gaps we created a toolkit on “Understanding the Scottish education system”.
This toolkit is designed for schools and groups working with ethnic minority families to use to give the parents an understanding of how schools work in Scotland, the choices and supports open to their children and the importance of parents taking an active role in supporting their children’s journey through school. Before we launched it we wanted to make sure that it was accessible for the groups we were aiming at. Govan and Craigton Integration Network had met with us at a networking event- they run a small homework club and were really interested in getting a better view of the education system for themselves and also to help the parents they work with.
Here’s some of the feedback we got from the event
Notwithstanding the existing knowledge I had as an aspiring primary school teacher, the training added to and deepened that knowledge. In particular, the training on the legal framework around children as well as on exams in the Scottish education system gave me new knowledge and perspectives, which I expect will be of use as a volunteer and as an aspiring teacher. In particular, the talk and discussion on the exams and the Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework (SCQF) was very informative, clear and well delivered. Secondly, the manner through which the training was delivered was conducive to deep and rich learning on Scottish education. I enjoyed, particularly, the various interactive approaches for participants to learn about and consolidate their understanding of the system.
Although I roughly knew how the Scottish education system works, I was very interested to learn about the new Curriculum for Excellence, about which I knew very little. The course also allowed me to pick up a few very useful ideas in order to suggest to EM parents how they can also help their children with their homework for example by reading to them or even doing maths with them in their own languages.
In looking at the impact that it made on GCIN, one member of staff said
The day was a really valuable opportunity to come together as a group and share experiences as well as build volunteers’ knowledge and capacity. It was especially useful for people with no terms of reference (not educated in Scotland/ no kids going through school here. Following on from the training, one of our volunteers is going to deliver the toolkit to our parents and I’ll be sharing the information on GIRFEC and keeping children safe, healthy and happy with the whole team.
The Toolkit is now available on our website for anyone wanting to support ethnic minority parents to better understand the Scottish education system and develop the confidence to become partners in their children’s learning. To download the toolkit click here