Appendix 1: Indicators of successful home-school engagement

Leadership

  • The involvement of parents, whānau and families is valued and welcomed by the principal and senior managers in the school.
  • Teachers initiate and develop partnerships with parents that focus on student learning and well-being.
  • Students have opportunities to take a lead role in activities and events that involve their parents, whānau and the wider community.
  • There is a shared vision that reflects the aspirations of parents, whānau and families for their children.
  • The strategic intent of the school reflects a commitment to working in partnership with parents, whānau and families.

Relationships

  • Relationships between school personnel and parents, whānau and community members are valued and based on mutual respect and trust.
  • Responsibility for developing and maintaining relationships is shared.
  • Parents from different ethnic groups have a point of contact on the staff of the school.
  • Relationships are developed in formal and informal ways, with personalised, one-to-one contact being as important as the group activities and events.

School culture

  • An open, inclusive and welcoming environment invites parent participation in a wide range of non-threatening activities and events.
  • Staff are approachable and accessible.
  • Diversity is valued and celebrated in a variety of ways.
  • The backgrounds and cultural heritage of all parents, whānau and families are respected.
  • Parents, whānau and families are visible in the school in a variety of role and activities.

Partnerships with parents and families

  • Contact with parents is timely and opportunities taken to share their child’s successes and concerns.
  • Regular formal and informal opportunities are provided to discuss student progress, achievement and well-being.
  • Reporting of achievement is based on sound data, easily understood, honest and timely.
  • Students have opportunities to lead conferences about their learning with their teacher and parents, whānau and families.
  • Parents, whānau and families have opportunities to be involved in their children’s learning, for example in goal setting and developing career pathways.
  • Parents are involved in celebrations of their child’s achievement.
  • Parents are supported in helping their children to learn at home.
  • Parents, whānau and families have opportunities to learn about teaching programmes (curriculum), assessment practices/processes, initiatives that support their child’s well-being and parenting.

Partnerships focused on well-being

  • Transition practices for students coming into the school include parents, whānau and families.
  • Processes for managing student behaviour concerns include parents in finding positive solutions to issues.
  • Parents’ concerns are listened to and there is appropriate and timely follow up.
  • Parents are able to share ideas and strategies to support their child’s well-being at school.
  • The school has established links with a range of relevant agencies and organisations in the wider community that support its own pastoral care practice.

Community networks

  • The school values and makes use of the expertise and skills of parents, whānau and families in the community.
  • Parents, whānau and families can contribute in a variety of ways, for example through education outside the classroom activities, working bees, helping in the classroom, and activities such as sports coaching.
  • The school is involved in community activities and events.
  • Cultural celebrations are supported by community groups and leaders.
  • The school works with and/or employs liaison people to work with and support families.
  • The school uses a variety of approaches to gauge the perspectives of parents, whānau and families on a wide range of topics.
  • The views of parents, whānau and families are sought, listened to and contribute to what happens in the school.
  • The school regularly evaluates how well it is engaging with its community and knows which parents are involved and which are not, what the barriers might be, and the effectiveness of the practices used to engage parents, whānau and families.

Communication

  • There are various ways schools and parents, whānau and families communicate that meet the needs of all groups.
  • Information communicated is useful, timely and easily understood.
  • Language barriers, where they exist, are addressed through the translation of written material and the use of translators for meetings.
  • Communication is two-way, with opportunities for sharing on a wide range of topics relevant for school personnel and for parents, whānau and families.

Questions to support self review in schools

  • Who is the best person/people to lead engagement in our school community?
  • What opportunities there are for parents, whānau and families, and students to take a lead role?
  • What opportunities, both formal and informal, are there for parents, whānau and families to meet with school staff and with each other?
  • To what extent do such opportunities take account of the ethnic and cultural backgrounds of all involved?
  • How open is our school to identifying and discussing the beliefs held by staff about engaging with parents?
  • In what ways is diversity valued and responded to?
  • What does engagement mean to parents, whānau and the wider community and what might it look like if it was working well for them?
  • To what extent are parents, whānau and families included in decisions about their children’s learning and well-being?
  • How well informed are parents about their child’s learning and well-being, teaching programmes, assessment processes and pastoral care practices?
  • What links does our school have with its community?
  • In what ways does our school value and utilise the expertise and skills of its community?
  • What do we know about the effectiveness of the ways in which we engage with parents, whānau/families and the wider community?
  • What expectations do parents, whānau and families have for how they want to be communicated with?
  • What kind of information do they find most useful?
  • How is our school community changing?
  • What does this mean for how our school communicates with all parents and whānau, not just those who come through the school gate?