By Sara Berenguer, Assistant Head of Primary, Regents International School Pattaya
All educators know that high levels of parental support are consistently associated with positive outcomes for students. Parental involvement with the school—such as attending events—are a measure of good communication and positive relationships but are only a stepping-stone to parental engagement in learning.
At Regents International School, our understanding of this has led us to strategic planning of how to involve parents in their children’s learning, with the purpose being to build our community’s collective efficacy. Parents are our equal partners and can make a difference.
As a Leadership Team, an assessment of the needs of the community as well as talking to parents about what would help them support learning have been essential. Although feedback from the Parent Supporter’s Group was invaluable, it was important to have input from parents whose level of involvement was more likely to have a language barrier or a lack of understanding of international educational pedagogy at its source.
A variety of different opportunities for parents to be involved are on offer to ensure that all groups of parents are included and planned for; Stay and Play sessions in in the Early Years through which teachers model play based learning, oral language and self-regulation strategies through to Early Primary activities that target reading and numeracy are on offer. Encouraging such a diverse community of parents to engage with our vision of academic excellence has led to a use of a variety of communication tools such as social media, texting and chat groups as well as one-to-one encouragement.
A group based initiative of Parent Workshops throughout the year have been planned with activities designed to support reading comprehension in Primary and independent reading in Secondary. Presentations on curriculum, assessment, inclusion and IBD/iGCSE programmes are also on offer with special sessions in the calendar for those parents whose preference is for communication to be in their home language. In addition, parents can learn how to support their children by encouraging them to set goals, plan and manage their time, effort and emotions. This type of support can help students to regulate their own learning and can often be more valuable than direct help with homework tasks.
Parent Workshops are also an opportunity to show-case our experienced and highly qualified staff at Regents and are planned to encourage trusting relationships within an informal, welcoming environment at convenient times and locations for parents who may not normally come to school on a regular basis. Attendance at parent teaching meetings, feedback and parental satisfaction surveys will give us meaningful data as to the impact of our strategy, and will allow us to refine and improve our practice as we move forwards.
Sara Berenguer is an Assistant Head of Primary at Regents International School, Pattaya – part of the Nord Anglia Education family of 56 premium schools around the world. Sara’s career began in the UK where she held senior management positions before expatriating to start teaching internationally. Sara is passionate about education and in particular, the responsibility that international schools hold in educating future generations of culturally intelligent global citizens.