Family and Community Engagement in Action
Start date: Sep 1, 2014,
End date: Aug 31, 2016
Focusing on EU priorities:
- improving the attainment of young people, particularly those at risk of early school leaving and with low basic skills
- greater understanding and responsiveness to social, linguistic and cultural diversity
- more active participation in society
- improved competences, linked to their professional profiles (training for the teachers, who work in multicultural classes
this project with a unique focus of study for all participating authorities, aims to tackle challenges within our education systems.
We have seen a huge increase in the number of ethnic minority groups in our regions with many of those families have little or no experience of education and the importance in education for their children. This is coupled with a growth in the number of disengaged family amongst our indigenous population.
Despite work already being undertaken in our regions we recognise that more needs to be done as many families are still not engaged which is impacting on life chances for their children.
This project pools our resources and ideas to tackle these difficult to reach families and their children and through collaborative working, teacher training and developing student voice we believe we can work together to improve aspiration and engagement amongst the target family groups our schools have identified.
Our regions support numerous communities who live here, work and attend schools especially since the widening of the European Union and we face challenges within our education systems. We aim to work towards overcoming some of the following issues through this project:
1. Families - inadequate contact with parents regardless of ethnic group
2. Pupils - inadequate provision for ethnic minority pupils' and peer group isolation; cultural and ethnic discrimination; shortage of school programs focused on communities and support for indigenous families whose children are at risk of becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training)
3. Teachers and schools - schools which are not ready to meet the challenges of integration of pupils from varying backgrounds and lack of support for schools, teaching and non-teaching staff working with ethnic minorities.. According to the „Common European Framework for competences and qualifications of teachers” document teachers should know how to promote mobility and cooperation in Europe as well as mutual respect and understanding of cultures, have an understanding of a balance between cultural differences and common features, and be competent to work in multicultural and socially differentiated classroom, we aim to prepare teachers to meet these requirements.
Parents will not come into schools for a variety of reasons. Many parents have had little or no experience of education or an experience which has left them fearful. Educating parents and families is as important a role in education as education itself and we wish to evoke belief and enthusiasm for education amongst our pupils' families through this project plan.
Where this project will add an exciting and innovative approach, different to programmes already in place in our countries, is that this project will involve expertise from professionals in 3 counties pulling together the best practices and innovative approaches from our regions.
The 3 local authorities in each region are fully committed to addressing the themes of this project and have already gone some way towards introducing intervention and the nominated coordinators have extensive experience in managing international projects. The collective skills of local authority professionals will ensure the quality of project outcomes and goals and objectives are met.
All other associated partners have been carefully selected to provide expertise that is not available through the services provided by the local authorities.
In each case the 12 schools are experiencing challenges in engaging families and a broad variety of experience allows learning opportunities for all participating staff. Some schools have nominated Family Engagements officers and their expertise will be shared and similar opportunities in participating schools will be identified.
The planned activities include the production of training materials for teachers and parents. Parents and their children will be engaged in a variety of activities specifically designed to attract and engage other parents within the individual school contexts. Professionals from all organisations will take part in transnational meeting to ensure objectives are being met. Teachers will participate in job shadowing opportunities in partner countries following which they will receive Europass certificates providing staff with valuable additions to CVs in line with EU guidelines.
The final output will be good practice guidelines bringing together all aspects of the project in a comprehensive guide for other professionals wishing to engage in similar activities and ensuring sustainability
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