Parents play a vital role in working with the school to support young people and school improvement.  There are lots of ways parents can help – some are basic things such as making sure children get a good amount of sleep and a decent breakfast before getting to school in good time.  Or things which are helpful are encouraging regular exercise and relaxation as well as routines such as going over the learning from one day and getting set up for the next day.  If parents have the skills then give them help with homework – if not then encourage them to seek help from their teachers or from on-line resources (my maths, show my homework, scholar and BBC bitesize to name a few). If they have the time they can play a part in our Parent Council or Parent Teacher Association (even if just to attend the occasional meeting or event).  It is also really good to meet parents at the various parental meetings and information evenings through the session.

As a parent I understand life can be busy and for many young people there is a lot of other things on the go.  I also understand that not every family is able to offer the same levels of support and we will continue to work with you to find ways to help even in the most difficult of situations.  The Scottish government are very keen to raise attainment and also to ensure that most help is given to try and help some of our poorest families to overcome the barriers to success (what they refer to as closing the gap).

We are always keen to hear from parents and this week I shall be making contact with a sample of parents to ask their views on what we are doing well and what we could improve.  Prior to each holiday I shall ask a different sample for their views and this should ensure that over the year all parents will have been given the chance to provide me with some feedback.  I shall ensure this is displayed in the school and reported back to parents through the website and in my newsletters.  Alongside your feedback will be comments on what we have done in response to the feedback – what you said/and what we did.

Last year, for example, many parents said they wished they were getting more regular feedback on concerns.  As a result we have introduced a new parental slip which ensures parents are aware when we have a concern.  This system was introduced in September this year and I know staff are using it to report on homework not being done, concerns over effort and low level disruption.

Parents also wanted more regular feedback on progress.  As a result we have just completed an exercise where staff completed tracking information for all S4, S5 and S6 pupils.  We are about to do the same for all of the S1, S2 and S3 pupils.  This tracking information will generate a progress report for each pupil which parents will either have just received or will receive very soon.  For each year group this type of ‘skinny’ report will be produced again around January/February and also just after Easter.  This should ensure parents have a much clearer idea of progress through the year and can work with the school to help the young person.

The introduction of the new look website, this weekly blog and the various twitter feeds are all a response to parental requests to receive more regular information from the school.

Harlaw Academy is your school and as your head teacher a very important part of my job is to help your child and your family.  As I said at the start of this blog – parents play a vital role in working with the school to support young people and school improvement.