Deputy First Minister John Swinney went back to school to see the positive impact parent power is having at Maisondieu Primary School in Brechin.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills saw the work being done by the partnership school team with parents, pupils and staff joining forces to improve parental engagement in children’s learning.
The Partnerships Schools Scotland Programme, run by the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, focuses on building enthusiasm for reading, increasing understanding of career pathways, strengthening communication with families and building awareness of mental health and how families, pupils and school can support each other.
Mr Swinney said: “The involvement of parents in education is absolutely critical to the strength and effectiveness of education.
“Identifying ways in which that can be done as part of the routine activity of the school is crucial, and Maisondieu’s participation is a splendid example of that.
“Parents are involved actively in all aspects of the school in identifying the priorities of the school — some of the challenges there will be for young people around mental wellbeing, for example — and also in being clear about the focus and the nature of the curriculum to make sure parents can be supporting, at home, the delivery of the curriculum taking place within the school.”
Mr Swinney said empowering parents, families and communities lies at the heart of the Scottish Government’s education reforms; international evidence shows a strong link between parental engagement and education outcomes for children and young people.
He continued: “I am very impressed by the way pupils, parents and staff at Maisondieu Primary have embraced this approach and the positive difference it has made to attainment and health and wellbeing.”
Headteacher Ruthanna Chalmers said: “The growing sense of partnership between school staff and families is the most important aspect for us as we grow in understanding of each other and children, in turn, benefit from a joint approach.”
Eileen Prior, executive director of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, said the PPS programme, supported by Skills Development Scotland, is an evidence-based model that has been shown to improve outcomes for children.
She said: “We are working across five local authority areas and 28 schools to pilot this innovative way of working over a five-year period, building up evidence of the great practice going on in the schools we are working with.”
Maisondieu is one of four primary schools in Angus, along with Friockheim, Colliston and Grange in Monifieth, which is part of the pilot project.
Welcoming the positive impact it is having on pupil learning at Maisondieu, Shona Seaman of the school’s Parent Voice said: “As a parent, the most important thing for me is that I now understand what my child is being taught, which is completely different to what it was like when I came to the school 11 years ago.
“I now understand what she is being taught, how she is being taught. I understand the ethos of the school and how it supports the child entirely, whereas before you just got the homework. This is developing the child as a whole person and is a valuable link between school and home. We are all working together.”