Parental Involvement Guidelines

1. Introduction

Our school is a community where pupils, parents and teachers collaborate and work in partnership for our children.  When parents decide to send their child to our school they are entering a very important relationship.  “Partnership is a working relationship that is characterised by a shared sense of purpose, mutual respect and a willingness to negotiate.”  Gillian Pugh, Working Towards Partnership in the Early Years.

In keeping with the principles of multi-denominational education, our school is democratically run.  This means that management committees that are democratically elected run it, and the involvement of all parents is sought and encouraged.

A high level of parental involvement is a feature of our school and requires a commitment from parents.
Parents as a group have a range of talents, abilities and skills that have the potential to enrich and extend the educational opportunities provided for the children.  It is our policy to identify parents with specific skills and to invite those parents to share their skills with us at a school and a class level.

Respect for the professional role of the teacher and the statutory responsibilities of the Principal, Patron and the Board of Management is always an important consideration.

Parents are invited to become involved in the school in many ways and at many levels, for example:

  • Serving on school bodies (Board of Management, Parent-Teacher Association, Educate Together)
  • Fundraising
  • Policy making, e.g. Code of Behaviour; Relationships and Sexuality Education; Parent-Teacher Association Constitution; Homework; School Lunch Box.
  • In the classroom
  • Lifts to and from matches/tours etc.

    2. Benefits of Parental Involvement

    • Children benefit from greater diversity in the classroom.
    • Children profit from more one-to-one attention.
    • Parental skills may support and complement work already taking place.
    • Parental involvement actively supports and encourages the child’s learning.
    • A wide range of activity is facilitated.  This can be interesting and fun, and can lead to a broader and more holistic education
    • It promotes ‘good parent/teacher relationships and a better level of understanding between home and school’ (National Parents’ Council).
    • It enhances communication, trust and respect between parents and teachers.
    • Parents can learn about the curriculum.
    • Parental involvement allows children to see that school is an extension of home and therefore fosters the idea of the ‘school family.’
    • Parental skills can contribute to the smooth running and development of the school.

    3. How to Get Involved

    • Parents are, first of all, invited to consider their skills, interests and time available, and communicate this information to the class teacher, the principal and/or to the PTA.
    • Parents can consult with the class teacher about hobbies, skills or interests they can share with the class bearing in mind that needs change from year to year.
    • Parents can work in conjunction with the teachers in a planned and co-ordinated way.  For example, they could help with library and shared reading book exchange, assist at art times, work with the children at various curricular activities and lend a welcome hand in many other areas which can be identified with the teacher.
    • Ongoing projects over a number of weeks may enhance and enrich the work the children are involved with in the classroom:  parents are encouraged to discuss any ideas they may have with the teacher.
    • Parents can help with tours and trips, organising the school library, art and P.E. resources, and may also like to make costumes for school concerts.
    • Parents would be particularly welcome to initiate project work with the children in the areas of the school garden, a children’s newsletter etc.
    • Opportunities are endless – baking, woodwork, cultural exchanges and discussion…the school welcomes all ideas.

    Guidelines for Getting Involved

    Schools have an obligation to provide students with the highest possible standard of care in order to promote their well-being and protect them from harm. The board will ensure that all relevant parties are made aware where appropriate of their obligations-

    • Parents come into the classroom at the invitation of the teacher by prior arrangement and for an agreed purpose.
    • All visitors must sign in at the office prior to entering classroom.
    • The happiness, welfare and safety of our children are our primary concern.  A child’s personal history and all academic achievements are strictly confidential.  Any doubts about issues of confidentiality must be discussed with the teacher.
    • Respect for the teachers in their professional capacity is essential.
    • Discipline remains the responsibility of the teacher.
    • All work will be supervised by the teacher.
    • Parents who participate should be conscious of and sensitive to the needs of the entire class.
    • Parents/Guardians who volunteer to help in the school therefore may not be assisting in their own child/ren’s classroom.
    • Every child must be supervised by an NETNS staff member when possible
    • Garda Vetting may be required.
    • Operate a strict two adults to one child policy. If a parent is giving children a lift this may not be possible so we recommend that you ensure to operate a two child to one adult policy in this circumstance. We also recommend that all tours/lifts return to the school for the children to be picked up by designated persons.
    • NETNS promote independence and free thinking in our children. We encourage parents and volunteers to promote the same. Please use verbal instruction and encouragement to build such independence e.g. encourage children to dry themselves and dress themselves fully. Please familiarise yourself with the Positive Language Policy.
    • Adults are not permitted to help with dressing.
    • Children who do attend NETNS cannot be accommodated during a classroom activity.
    • The highest standard of behaviour and language is expected.
    • Punctuality and consistency are crucial
    • No fees are payable.  Any expenses that you wish to reclaim must be sanctioned in advance by the teacher, and must be accompanied by receipts.
    • In the case of an ongoing project that takes place over a number of weeks, parents will meet with the teacher to discuss the activity. It remains the responsibility of the teacher to determine its appropriateness (e.g. is it suitable for the age group, has something similar already been done etc.).  The teacher has the final say in the event that he/she feels it is falling short of its original aims and objectives.
    • The school ethos must be upheld at all times and it is important to keep in mind that the school is multi-denominational, co-educational, child centred and democratic. Consequently, respect for all the partners in education – children, teachers and parents – must be upheld at all times.

    Parents will be asked to sign an agreement to abide by the school policy on Parental Involvement in the School.