Update from the National Parent Forum of Scotland

Please see below an update from Carol Snow who is the East Lothian Rep. of the National Parent Forum of Scotland;-

Dear parent councils, parents/carers

Please find below information which we hope you will find useful. 

Our website www.parentforumscotland.org includes details of the National Parent Forum are representatives and lists the national bodies on which we sit.  We are always delighted to hear from parents, so feel free to raise any issues or suggest ideas to us via enquiries@parentforumscotland.org.

This update covers new information for parents on changing qualifications, next steps for Curriculum for Excellence in schools, as well as an important opportunity for parents of children with additional support for learning needs.

·         Building the National Parent Forum of Scotland Database

We are compiling a national database of parent contacts and parent council chairs, solely for the use of the National Parent Forum of Scotland on matters relating to parental involvement in education.  If you would like to be included in this, please email enquiries@parentforumscotland.org.

            Opportunity to speak to Angela Constance, the Minister for Children and Young People

The Minister for Children and Young People, Angela Constance, who gave the keynote speech at our conference (see below) is keen to speak to a different parent council chair each week on the telephone.  If a parent council chair would like to take up this opportunity, please email me at npfs@cps.uklinux.net giving your name, your parent council, and your phone number.  Your number will not be used for any other purpose.  Please contact me by Tuesday, 25 October.

·         Our Successful Second National Parent Forum of Scotland Conference – 1 October 2011

Our second annual conference, ‘Curriculum for Excellence – One Year On’ in Bishopbriggs Academy  was attended by over 200 parent representatives.  The event provided parents with an opportunity to ask questions, share ideas and discuss their views on a range of issues. Angela Constance, MSP and Minister for Children and Young People, opened the event and took part in a question and answer session with parents. We offered workshops on teacher professional standards, Curriculum for Excellence in primary schools, sharing learning with parents, the new School Inspection framework, the Senior Phase of Curriculum for Excellence, the new National Qualifications and many more.  Feedback from parent attendees was brilliant: “It’s been great hearing about the good practice that is going on.  It also helps us to get used to the language of Curriculum for Excellence.  We’ve also picked up lots of really useful ideas for encouraging parental involvement” (Marie McIntosh, Doune Primary School).  Jill Kent of Charleston Academy said: “The sessions have been fantastic.  The more I learn about Curriculum for Excellence, the better I feel about it”.

Prior to the start of the conference there was an online discussion.  This has now closed you might be interested to read some of the comments which are available as an archive.


·         Next Steps in Schools for Curriculum for Excellence (CfE)

Joanna Murphy, our National Parent Forum rep on the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Management Board, wrote recently to all parent council chairs via their schools.  Joanna described the expectations of the CfE Management Board over the coming school year.  New Primary 7 profiles will be introduced from 2012.  These profiles, devised by schools and local authorities, will present a holistic record of a child’s achievements, in and outside school.  They will differ from a school report which focuses on learning and they will be useful in supporting transition to high school.

Parent councils of secondary schools can also expect to hear an update about your school’s plans for the Senior Phase (S4-S6) of Curriculum for Excellence.  For example, your head teacher will be considering  the shape of your school timetable,  curricular planning, pupil choice and personalisation etc.

·         New Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Information for Parents

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has issued a new information leaflet for parents, ‘Qualifications are Changing’.  It can be found on http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/46161.html, along with a range of materials to help parents get to grips with the new qualifications.  Secondary schools should now have paper copies of the draft specifications for National 4 and National 5 qualifications.

·         Technology for Additional Support Needs Parent Information Day 12 November 10am-2pm, Moray House, University of Edinburgh, Paterson’s Land, Edinburgh

CALL (Communications, Access, Literacy, Learning), based at the University of Edinburgh, supports young people with additional support needs in Scotland to engage with Curriculum for Excellence using appropriate assistive technologies and tools. 

Parents/carers are invited to an Information Day on 12 November 10am-2pm to see different technologies in action.  This is a great opportunity to update parents/carers on current technological support for children with learning difficulties , e.g. support for removing barriers to reading in exams are being rolled out in schools (Heather Voice and Stuart Voice). Please book online at www.callscotland.org.uk/training.  A charge of £10 is being made to cover the cost of materials and refreshments.   CALL also runs a Technology Family Fun Day in late March/early April for children and parents.

·         Skills Development Scotland launches new web service for young people

Skills Development Scotland provides career information, advice and guidance in a number of ways including in schools, online, face-to-face in more than 50 advice centres and by phone. A new web service www.myworldofwork.co.uk which is designed to help people plan, build and direct their career throughout their lives was launched in August. ‘My World of Work’ features a careers A-Z, CV builder, course search, jobs search and hundreds of video clips of people talking about their jobs.

·         Useful Publications for Parents/Carers

In response to parental requests, the National Parent Forum asked for a new Curriculum for Excellence Factfile – Overview of Key Terms and Features.  This digest of CfE terms is now available on www.ltscotland.org.uk/parentzone/cfe.

Updated material to support parent councils in their roles and organisation will shortly be available at  http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/parentzone/getinvolved/parentcouncils/resources/index.asp.
            Other dates

            The next meeting of the NPFS is 26 November 2011.
With best wishes


Carol Snow
East Lothian rep, National Parent Forum of Scotland