On Friday 4th of May, we celebrated Community Business Weekend. We invited parents of children who attend our Learning Hubs to a breakfast, played some games and did some activities to find out their views on what we do and have a discussion on what could be done better or different. We started with a short quiz testing their knowledge of the education system and funnily, this sparked off passionate views and discussions. New ideas were generated on how to combine affordable childcare with educational support for their school-aged children.
The discussions were open to anything which was of interest to the parents. Many of them had queries about the school system and recent changes that have been made, and what this meant for their children. We talked openly about concerns that parents had. A hot topic was ability grouping. Another topic was how to support your child who’s struggling with learning. Many of the topics discussed during the event link to our series of Parents’ Frequently Asked Questions or Parents’ FAQ’s . They highlight questions that have frequently been asked by parents. To find out more, please follow the link. http://www.s4a.org.uk/blog/
We did an activity on different forms of after school care. What do parents use? Do they rely on friends and family? Do they organise after-school activities themselves or do they rely on what the school offers? Do they pay a childminder? We compared the different forms of after-school care in terms of cost, reliability, availability and flexibility.
Parents communicated that paying a childminder for after-school care is quite expensive. This may not be an option for some parents leading them to be unable to work whilst having a young child to look after: “I would like to work as a volunteer but I have no one to look after my one-year-old child. Childcare cost is very expensive for working parents. There should be more free activities for kids in a summer holiday.” – (Parent). Another parent said that the school also charged for after-school care but that it was only for 1 hour. Other schools offered clubs but these were not consistent and could not be relied on as after-school care.
Another activity involved blue sky thinking around ‘My wishes for my child’s education’. What type of school would they like their child to attend. What type of teacher would they want for their child. What type of subjects would they like their child to be able to study. What type of extra-curricular activities would they like to be able to offer to their child. This included the general view that: “They enjoy school, I hope they become what they want.” And that “Their interest comes first”. Alongside these discussions, there were some concerns about the education system such as support surrounding stress and mental health issues that children experience – “How to deal with stress / modern world”.
Many parents also wanted to know more about how their child was doing academically. They were unaware that all schools now have a pupil tracking system, which records and tracks academic progress. Parents were unaware that they are able to ask the school for all academic information that the school holds on their child.
Parents’ involvement is hugely valuable to us. So if you missed the event and would like to know more or get involved with the changes we are bringing, do let the Learning Hub Coordinator know or drop into our office in the Carnegie Building. #CBWkd2018 #LocalPeopleLocalPower