Our Client’s Vision
Fenton Primary School is situated in the Portﬁeld area of Haverfordwest with over 500 children. It has two learning resource centres (LRC) for pupils with complex needs. Fenton’s LRC objective was ‘to increase parental engagement and outcomes for all LRC pupils. The vision was to engage the parents with their child’s learning in a way that would support the child and the families and build a conﬁdent, secure relationship.’
Joe Phillips, Teacher of Foundation Phase LRC.
Parents shared some issues that they encounter on a day-to-day basis:
- Many of Fenton’s LRC pupils are transported in to receive provision, some travel for an hour to get to school, local transport is patchy and irregular in many areas.
- Many families have other children in different local schools, so dropping off and picking up times can be difﬁcult, this has a knock on effect on seeing parents at the beginning and the end of the day.
- Some parents have had difﬁcult experiences with education prior to arriving at Fenton, therefore they can actively avoid engagement with the school.
- Parents can be unsure of the needs of their child, the specialist provision and are afraid of the setting and stigma that can be attached.
- Many of the families arrive during the diagnosis process or shortly afterwards and find that they are not yet ready to engage.
Aspire 2Be engaged with both teachers from the learning resource centre to cover a number of applications that can help support children with additional learning needs. Due to the focus on parental engagement, we introduced Seesaw. Seesaw is a web-based application that can be used as an e-portfolio with links to the child’s parents. This enables parents to see instantly what their child has been creating, learning and/or their engagement. This is important for all children, but vital for children with additional learning needs. Particularly for children that may not be able to communicate, have difﬁculty with social skills or remembering what they have done through the day. The training was bespoke to the schools needs and objectives, which has enabled the school to develop a driver to engage and build relationships with parents.
What was the impact?
“Parental feedback was 100% positive, the strategy also supported our youngsters with behaviour management and attachment difﬁculties where contact and feeding back to families became something tangible for them and something they had real input into. So we began planning parental engagement projects, we have hatched dragons eggs, learned about animals, planets, teach baby dragon a bedtime routine and recently hatched baby chicks, all of these have been shared with parents through Seesaw” (all of these activities link with a skill that the children need to learn / overcome e.g. bedtime routine, eating different foods, etc). “Parents are always keen to respond and join in with sharing the learning and our learners are thriving from learning from their parents as part of our educational team.” Recently, the whole school were invited to join their Seesaw class and become involved with pupils from the LRC sharing the chick diaries and videos of the them hatching, their trip to the vets (where the chicks spent the weekend), how heavy they were, etc. Children used their digital competency skills to check feedback and answer questions posed by other classes. Transition can be very problematic for the children and their parents. Transition ﬁlms are made on iMovie and then shared on Seesaw, this enables them to have access to them at school and at home. Parents are able to prepare the children more effectively, which has an impact on the child’s well-being and behaviour. Social stories have also been used in a similar way.
Developing parental engagement has made a huge impact on:
- Improved pupil attendance
- Increased parental attendance at consultation meetings – recent consultation with parents re: speech and language therapy provision, had the highest attendance and engagement across the county
- Increased awareness from parents about their children’s needs
- Enhanced communication for pupils at home particularly regarding their day
- Increased digital competence for learners and families
- Summer activity scheme run by families and parents supported by The Family Foundation providing support and friendship out of term time
- Parents accessing training opportunities within the school.
Joe Phillips, teacher of foundation phase LRC, has participated in numerous presentations across Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire highlighting good practice and promoting parental engagement.
Future plans include:
- Family focus days supporting parents with strategies to use in the community e.g. supporting their children while out shopping, in a theme park, etc.
- Seesaw projects with other classes in the school.
- Seesaw communications between LRC pupils across county settings.