Newry.ie

Rathore School in Newry was the venue last week for a Parents' Parliament.

Organised by National charity Parentkind it enables parents to take an active role in their child’s education.Newry's event was part of a series of Parents Parliaments across Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessments (CCEA), Queens University Belfast - The Graduate School, and with the support of the Department of Education Northern Ireland (DENI).

aroline Currie, Principal at Rathore School, Jayne Thompson Parentkind and Róisín McCreesh CCEA
aroline Currie, Principal at Rathore School with Jayne Thompson Parentkind and Róisín McCreesh CCEA.

At the event, parents were asked to consider and discuss the following four topics:

Should there be a parent body in every school and what functions should it have?

How can CCEA communicate more effectively with parents?

How can schools better support parental engagement in their child’s learning?

What do parents understand about the school inspection process, their role in this and how can the Education Training Inspectorate share information more effectively?

Jayne Thompson, Northern Ireland Programme Manager at Parentkind, said “Often when you organise campaigns, no matter how much you passionately believe in the purpose of them, it takes partnership working to make a difference.  In our case a number of educational statutory bodies are involved, but the participation of parents and their feedback has been invaluable.

“At Rathore School on Tuesday evening, we 100% received affirmation from parents that Parents’ Parliaments are so much needed and that parents want to engage more meaningfully with their children’s education and schools.  They see the Parents’ Parliaments as one means of doing this.”

“The Parents’ Parliaments give parents a voice on an array of education topics that can be translated into policy and/or practice.  Parents shared their many positive experiences but also took the time to highlight where and how schools could do more to engage parents; how CCEA and ETI could communicate more effectively with them and the value of having a parent body in every school.”

Heather McKenzie (Controlled Schools Support Council), Róisín McCreesh CCEA, Dale Heaney DE, Wendy Crawford ETI, Jayne Thompson Parentkind and Jackie Coade Alliance Party
Heather McKenzie (Controlled Schools Support Council), Róisín McCreesh CCEA, Dale Heaney DE, Wendy Crawford ETI, Jayne Thompson Parentkind and Jackie Coade Alliance Party at the Parentkind event.

The Newry Parent’s Parliament is being followed by an event in Omagh and then Belfast before bringing together a representative group from all five Parents’ Parliament at a final event to be held in the Parliament Buildings later this year.

CCEA’s Education Manager Róisín McCreesh commented at the event “CCEA is delighted to have this opportunity to hear from parents and carers directly, so that we can work to develop strong partnerships with them.  These strong collaborative relationships can help bring our curriculum to life, fulfilling its aim: that every child is empowered to achieve their potential and to make informed and responsible decisions throughout their lives.”

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