Parents in classrooms

img_9615Parents, carers and families are by far the most important influences in a child’s life. Their support plays a vital role at all stages of education.

Parents who take on a supportive role in their children’s learning make a difference in improving achievement and behaviour. The active involvement of parents can help promote a learning community in which children and young people can engage positively with practitioners and their peers.

Practitioners can benefit from developing positive partnerships with parents by involving them in all decisions affecting their children’s education and learning. Engaging with parents gives them the chance to understand the role that they play in their children’s learning and development and fosters parental involvement.

Research shows that good links between parents and their child’s school improve their enjoyment and chances of doing well. The more parents know about what their child is learning, the more they can offer support. This is particularly important with those children who have additional needs.

West Wimbledon Primary School tries hard to involve parents in every aspect of their child’s education. We do this in two main ways:

  • by keeping parents informed about how and whattheir child is learning – i.e. the curriculum, teaching methods, tests and exams, and changes to the education system

  • by keeping parents informed about their child’s individual progress

Whilst an active dialogue between parents and school is vital, the School does not support parents spending time in their children’s classes either to observe what is going on, or to offer support for behaviour. This is because the complex relationships between parent and child can often disrupt the quite different classroom learning environment. Also, such an exercise poses a risk to the privacy (and might even compromise the protection) of other children. Finally, this practice is not followed so as to ensure that members of staff are subject only to rigorous professional accountability and scrutiny standards, rather than exposed to judgments drawn from parental observations which, understandably, are often personal in nature and necessarily subjective.

Some parents are able to offer the time and skills to become classroom helpers, and this is incredibly valuable. However, and for the reasons above, West Wimbledon Primary School like most schools, chooses not to put a parent in their child’s class because it can be considered to disruptive for the child, and possibly unfair to classmates whose parents haven’t volunteered.

Similarly, the School has adopted the practice where those members of staff who have their own children at the School are not timetabled to work with their child(ren)’s class(es) and are only ever called upon to supervise their children – in extremis – if there is no other practicable alternative.