At Grey Court we believe in our children and completely understand, and experience on a day to day basis, the fulfilment that young people can bring. However we fully appreciate that raising a child can be tough at times. Sometimes educating a child can be too. It is clear therefore that we need to work in partnership with you.
The day-to-day reality of the British family life is different today from that of a generation ago. Parents and children spend far less time together and almost all parents face an on-going struggle to balance the demands of their family life with their jobs. At a time when parents are under tremendous pressures, that make them less able to participate in their children's lives, there is a greater need for them to be involved, particularly in education.
I do appreciate that parents recognise this need, although most of us admit we need a little help and depending on the age or disposition of our children some families need more help than others. According to a recent survey some 40 percent of parents all across the country believe they are not devoting enough time to their children's education. This issue - one of the biggest and most important affecting education today - will only be solved through a joint effort involving parents, Grey Court and our local community.
As a school we must respond to the needs of you as parents and provide the
support necessary for you to be involved in your children's learning. At the
same time, as parents you can help by slowing down your lives a little,
stressing the life-long importance of getting a good education, and serving as
role models for your children.
Research confirms that regardless of the economic, racial, marital status
or cultural background of the family, when parents are partners in their
children's education the results are improved student achievement, better
school attendance, reduced dropout rates, and decreased delinquency.
Parents and families can and do make a big difference in the education of young people.
Grey Court is committed to a strong parent-school partnership
People who have worked with families and schools have suggested a number of concrete actions that parents, schools and communities can take now to help all children learn. I offer it here as kindly advice and guidance:
As their children's first teachers, parents and families can
- Schedule daily homework time. Establish a time each day for your child to be engaged in academic work. Review it regularly. Provide a quiet, well-lit place for study. Turn off TVs and radios. Discourage phone calls and use of social networking during work time. Encourage your child's efforts and be available for questions. Spend time discussing what he/she has learned.
While schools have the responsibility of assigning meaningful work, students have the responsibility to complete it. Time spent on academic work at home is directly related to achievement. If it does not appear there is any homework set, explore the possible reasons with your child, use the curriculum guide or ask your child what topics they are doing and then use one of the many resources recommended e.g. SAM learning or BBC bitesize to do some additional work related to the topic
- When they are younger read together. Read with your child and let them see you and older children read. Take your child to the library to get a library card and help them find books on their interests and hobbies. Studies show that when parents read to their children or listen to them read on a regular basis, achievement improves. Taking the time to read with children is the most successful way to encourage children to read and is critical to a child's education. As they get older continue to encourage them to read, discuss books and newspaper articles with them.
- Use the internet wisely. It is an invaluable educational aid. Establish boundaries with your child regarding the use of the social networking sites. Ensure the computer is in the main room and do not allow them to spend hours alone without being confident that they are using the computer wisely.
- Keep in touch with the school. Don't leave it up to the school to let you know how and what your child is doing. Stay aware of what your children are learning, what their assignments are, and how they are doing. Make a point of visiting the school and talking with me at my clinics on a Thursday evening. If you can't visit, schedule a phone call. Don't wait until there is a problem.
Research on the performance of secondary students has shown that parents who are consistently informed about their children's progress can contribute to higher achievement. The partnership between parents and teachers is key to creating a climate at home and at school conducive to learning.
- Offer praise and encouragement. Encourage your child to put in the time and effort to complete assignments, to work hard. Encourage her/him to persevere. Cultivate a warm and supporting home atmosphere while also setting and enforcing standards for school work.
Parents play a dominant role in influencing a
child's confidence and motivation to become a successful learner. Parents
should encourage children to complete assignments as well as introduce them to
enrichment programmes and outside experiences that will enhance their self
confidence and broaden their interests.
- Talk.. talk.. talk.. Be aware of your child's behaviour or mood swings and encourage them to talk to you if you think they have something on their mind. Encourage them to talk to a teacher if they are worried about anything in school. Know who your teenager’s friends are and keep tabs on their whereabouts. Support your teenager in their school and extracurricular activities. Keep them involved in family activities. Continue to set and enforce rules. Stress their importance as a role model to younger siblings. Sunday to Thursday night ask them to stay home, encourage going to extra-curricular clubs but be clear about what time the clubs start and finish. Trust them until they give you reason to doubt them.
Children and parents can learn a lot about each other just by talking. As parents, communicate your values openly with your teenager. By talking about the importance of values such as honesty, self-reliance, and responsibility, parents are helping their children make good decisions supporting and enhancing the work we are doing at Grey Court.