How can the web enable improved parental involvement?

Partnership with ParentsSocial software looks set to play an important part in enabling a step-change in parental involvement within East Lothian schools. The 2006 Parental Involvement Act places important new duties on education authorities, which are explained on the Parentzone site. These duties include:

Education authorities have a duty to ‘promote involvement of parents in school education’.

Education authorities are required to develop a ‘strategy for parental involvement strategy’ and in doing this they will have to consult with parents, pupils and any other interested parties.

Susan Guy is now completing that consultation in East Lothian. From her work, it’s clear that social software, such as eduBuzz blogs, has the potential to play a major role in supporting new parent involvement arrangements. We’ve been looking at what such a blog site might look like, and how it might work. A useful source document has been the Partnership With Parents document (30 pages, pdf file) issued by HMI as part of the How Good Is Our School series.

The idea is, in Primary Schools, to use a class web site (blog) as a focus for parental involvement at class level. Such a site turns out to be ideal for providing the kind of information, and level of interaction, that parents want. There’s a skeleton “framework” site at showing a possible model. Over the next couple of weeks we’re planning to develop the idea with the Pupil Council at Dunbar Primary. We attended their meeting today and showed them examples of what was possible, and their reaction was very positive. They also enjoyed leaving a few comments on the Law Primary site, such as this one and this one!