Welcome to Inclusive Education.


Partnering with parents, whanau and communities

http://inclusive.tki.org.nz/guides/partnering-with-parents-whanau-and-communities/

Having an inclusive school community where diversity is welcomed and valued is a key factor in supporting parent engagement.

Engagement increases when school leaders have vision and are committed to working in partnership with the parents and whānau of all students.

This guide provides stories, resources, and links to research to support schools to develop and strengthen these effective partnerships. It also emphasises the value of building close community networks to support student learning and wellbeing.

Modelling a commitment to inclusion

Parents expect schools to welcome their child, value the diversity they bring, and work collaboratively to meet their individual needs.

Source: Adapted from Partners in learning: Parents’ voices (September 2008)

 

An inclusive school makes sure that “every kid gets what they need”.

Source: Ministry of Education (NZ)

 

Closed captioning available in player

Suggestions and resources

Findings from parent research

Engagement works well when relationships between parents and the people at the school are developed and nurtured in ways that respect diversity.

Source: Partners in learning: Parents’ voices (September 2008)
Findings from parent research
A principal’s view of inclusion (NZ) (video)
Education for all

“Every child is important and every child has value and I think it comes from the heart.

I think you have to believe in your heart that every student is important and if that is the case then that will be reflected in the way you run the school.”

David Macleod, Principal Mahurangi College

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education (NZ)

A principal’s view of inclusion (NZ)
Sharing stories about ALL students

Consider how your school can share its journey towards becoming a more inclusive learning community

Consider how to share:

  • illustrated success stories about ALL students
  • student, parent, family, and teacher perspectives on diversity
  • the school's vision and the steps you are taking towards becoming a more inclusive community
  • teacher stories about their own evolving inclusive practice
  • stories in all the languages of the school community
  • digital text, print, and video versions of stories, providing parents and whānau a range of access options that work best for them.
Sharing stories about ALL students
Talking about the benefits of diversity (video)
Inclusive society

"If we want to make a more inclusive society, one that is equitable and just, ...

if you want your son or daughter to be more empathetic, to be a full human, she or he needs to be exposed to difference."

Mark Spooner

No captions or transcript available

Source: inclusiveed (Canada)

Talking about the benefits of diversity

Resources and downloads

Success for All – Every school, Every child

This strategy has been developed to support the vision of a fully inclusive education system.

Index for Inclusion: Indicators

This is a set of materials to support the self-review of all aspects of a school setting.

Developing a framework of values

The framework of values approach is a process to spur communities from identifying shared values to action. The ideas and processes can be used as whole-school initiatives or by individual teachers, managers, and boards of trustees. This tool is part of the UK's Index for Inclusion.

Special education needs

This site provides practical information about education for families and whānau of children with special education needs. It describes the New Zealand education system and Ministry of Education services.

Inclusive education video series

A webpage holding nine short videos from Alberta Education’s new inclusive education video series. Topics include valuing all students; changing how we talk about disabilities; using differentiated instruction to support all learners; making sense of Universal Design for Learning; using assistive technology to support learning; scaffolding for student success; using a positive behaviour approach to support learning; rethinking the role of educational assistants; and making sense of response to intervention. Each of the nine videos comes with a conversation guide.

What true partnership looks like

We are true partners when:

  1. you listen to what I have to say

  2. you acknowledge my intelligence

  3. you want to learn more about my ways

  4. you don’t judge me

  5. you engage me in genuine dialogue

  6. we make decisions together

  7. you show that my child matters to you

  8. you include my experience, knowledge, and viewpoints with yours.

Source: Partners in learning: Parents’ voices 2008

What true partnership looks like
Expect different perspectives

Parents and whānau will have different perspectives on diversity and inclusion, and different expectations of partnership

Through developing relationships and listening to the stories of parents and whānau, seek to understand:

  • their values and beliefs about disability and inclusion
  • their own experiences of learning
  • their hopes and dreams for their child
  • their fears and anxieties
  • their expectations around how their child will be supported in the classroom and in the playground.

Where parent and whānau values and expectations differ from those of your school, be open to learning from them.

Create opportunities to connect parents with other students, other parents, and community leaders. Invite them into school to see your inclusive practices in action. Talk with teachers or RTLB about delivering presentations to parents and whānau.

Expect different perspectives
Addressing common parental concerns

Parents of children with special education needs found that some schools were not open to working with them, and they felt that they were unwelcome. They struggled with entrenched attitudes by some school staff about their child and his or her learning or behavioural needs. For some parents, labelling their child and themselves, sometimes linked to previous family history with the school, undermined the development of constructive relationships.

Source: Partners in Learning: Parents' Voices (September 2008)
Addressing common parental concerns
Involving families in transitions at Onslow (NZ) (video)
Working with parents and whānau

Talk with parents and caregivers to build a learner profile that is underpinned by their knowledge. Find out what approaches and strategies have worked well for their children in their previous school.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Involving families in transitions at Onslow (NZ)
What makes an inclusive school? (NZ) (video)
A parent perspective

Parent and advocate Leah Petersen describes some of things she would expect to see in an inclusive school.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Te Toi Tupu

What makes an inclusive school? (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Family/whānau file

A booklet published by the Ministry of Education to help parents of students with additional needs to brief their child’s school.

The family book: Te pukapuka o nga whānau

An introduction to services and supports for families and whānau of children who are hard of hearing.

Partnerships at Lincoln School (NZ) (video)
Engaging whānau

Staff at Lincoln School talk about their commitment to working in partnership with whānau.

They describe how they seek feedback on what is working well and what can be improved.

No captions or transcript available

Source: He Kākano (NZ)

Partnerships at Lincoln School (NZ)
Response from parent research

Increasing whānau and iwi authority and involvement in education is critical to improving presence, engagement, and achievement. To achieve this, parents and whānau must be actively involved in decision-making and their children’s learning in all education settings.

Source: Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2013–2017
Response from parent research
Building relationships

Key factors critical to strengthening schools’ engagement with parents

  1. Leadership: Engagement between schools and their communities works well when there is vision and commitment from school leaders to working in partnership with all parents.

  2. Relationships: Mutual trust and respect are critical to relationships in which staff and parents share responsibility for children’s learning and well-being.

  3. School culture: Inclusive schools enable all parents to be actively involved in decisions affecting their child and respond promptly to parents’ concerns and questions.

  4. Partnership: Learning partnerships strengthen parents’ involvement in their child’s education. Parents feel that their contributions are valued. Effective learning partnerships have positive impacts on student outcomes.

  5. Community networks: Schools are an integral part of their communities. Parent and community expertise contributes to school programmes and activities. Networks are built through effective consultation.

  6. Communication: Timely, useful, and easily understood communication with parents provides opportunities to exchange information. Barriers to effective communication are actively identified and overcome.

Source: Partners in learning: Schools' engagement with parents, whānau, and communities (May 2008)

Building relationships
Utilising parents’ knowledge (NZ) (video)
Parents sharing expertise

A parent describes how New Zealand Sign Language was introduced into her daughter’s school.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Chrissie Butler (NZ)

Utilising parents’ knowledge (NZ)
Index for inclusion

Indicators of an inclusive culture

  1. Everyone is made to feel welcome.

  2. Students help each other.

  3. Staff collaborate with each other.

  4. Staff and students treat one another with respect.

  5. There is a partnership between staff and parents/carers.

  6. Staff and the board of trustees work well together.

  7. Local communities are involved in the school.

Source: Index for Inclusion: Developing learning and participation in schools

Index for inclusion

Resources and downloads

School partnerships self-audit tool (NZ)

This tool can be used to consider current community-school interactions and find out more about community values and expectations. It supports gather and analysing information to gain an understanding of strengths, gaps, and needs.

Inclusive Practices Tools for self-review

The Inclusive Practices Tools provide schools with ways to engage staff, students, and their communities in the review of their inclusive practices.

Supporting rangatahi with common sense solutions

John Murdoch, Newlands College Deputy Principal, reflects on his school’s experience setting up a whānau advisory group.

Curriculum Implementation Exploratory Studies: Final Report – Theme F: Engaging the community

This section from the Curriculum Implementation Exploratory Studies project focuses on the different purposes of community engagement. A key purpose is for schools to involve their community in developing a shared vision and values. Contains practical strategies.

Welcoming parents

This video includes practical suggestions for engaging Pasifika parents in the school community.

Partners in learning: Schools' engagement with parents, whānau, and communities (May 2008)

This report from the Education Review Office shows that effective partnerships between schools and parents, whānau, and communities can result in better outcomes for students.

Engaging parents, whānau, and community

This is a summary of research, which confirms that parents, whānau, and the community play an important role in children’s attitudes towards school and in helping teachers to better understand their students.

Index for Inclusion: Indicators

This is a set of materials to support the self-review of all aspects of a school setting.

Addressing misconceptions (image)
No excuses1
Responding to community concerns

Some parents may feel that having students with diverse learning needs in the classroom may adversely impact on teaching and learning.

Mediate these issues by addressing misconceptions.

Source: Canadian Association for Community Living (Canada)

Addressing misconceptions
Understanding parent concerns

Parents of children needing additional support found that some schools were not open to working with them, and they felt that they were unwelcome.

They struggled with entrenched attitudes of some school staff to their child and his or her learning or behavioural needs.

For some parents, labelling their child and themselves, sometimes linked to previous family history with the school, undermined the development of constructive relationships.

Source: Partners in learning: Parents' voices (September 2008)

Understanding parent concerns
Offer school-wide support in inclusive practices

 Invest in building teachers’ skills, expertise, and confidence.

Teachers may have limited training or experience teaching students needing additional support for learning. They may have a fear of failing the student or of failing the other students in the class.

  • Take time to listen to teachers' needs and concerns.
  • Support reflective processes such as teaching as inquiry and support teacher learning about inclusive practices
  • Link teachers to experienced professionals beyond the school to develop knowledge and understanding.
  • Support parent/teacher connections – they are the experts about their child.
  • Connect teachers with other teachers who have experience in inclusive practices and talking about inclusion.
  • Cluster with other schools for training and development.
  • Support collective responsibility for students in your school.
  • Support your teachers openly sharing classroom practices, learning from each other, and problem-solving together.
Offer school-wide support in inclusive practices
Talking about the benefits of diversity (video)
Inclusive society

"If we want to make a more inclusive society, one that is equitable and just, ...

if you want your son or daughter to be more empathetic, to be a full human, she or he needs to be exposed to difference."

Mark Spooner

 

No captions or transcript available

Source: inclusiveed (Canada)

Talking about the benefits of diversity

Resources and downloads

Ruia: School-whānau partnerships for Māori learners’ success

This resource supports principals and school leaders to improve outcomes for Māori students by working in educationally powerful partnerships with whānau.

Learning better together research DVD

This video outlines aspirations for school communities for the inclusion of all students in their schools.

FAQs on schooling for disabled children and young people

New Zealand’s Inclusive Education Action Group has developed this list of questions and answers about schooling for students with additional needs.

Education for All

This video, from the Ministry of Education, looks at how a number of New Zealand schools have worked collaboratively within their communities to meet the diverse needs of the students. The educators and families involved talk about their journeys and reflect on what they continue to learn.

Back to top

Establishing processes and approaches that support reciprocal relationships with parents and whānau

Parents want their relationships with school personnel to be based on empathy and mutual respect.

Develop ways of working together to build reciprocity. Identify possible barriers that may inhibit partnership. Consider flexible options to support home/school communication.

Source: Adapted from Partners in learning: Parents’ voices (September 2008)

Garth Clarricoats reflects on what makes a successful home-school partnership. Garth draws on his experience of being dad to a son with autism.

Source: Te Toi Tupu (NZ)

No captions or transcript available

Suggestions and resources

What parents ask of schools

Listen to what I have to say

Schools can help by:

  • being open and welcoming to parents and their children
  • creating opportunities and time for parents and whānau to talk to teachers about their children’s learning and well-being
  • having interpreters available to support parents and overcome language barriers
  • identifying appropriate staff as key contact people for specific groups of parents.

Source: Partners in learning: Parents' voices (September 2008)

What parents ask of schools
Demonstrate care of students

Manaakitanga, or care for students’ well-being and learning, provides a common purpose and bond with parents and whānau.

Care can be demonstrated through making the time and effort to build positive relationships with students, their whānau, and their communities of support.

It is a mark of respect and an indication that everyone’s contribution is valued.

Demonstrate care of students
Connecting with families (NZ) (video)
Inclusive classroom

Making connections between what the student does at home, and with their family, supports and extends learning. 

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Connecting with families (NZ)
Value and act on parent concerns

We thought something was wrong for a long time but we couldn’t put our finger on it. We mentioned our concerns to the school but, because our child was coping, the school didn’t see any reason to suspect any issues. It made us feel powerless. We felt like we were sticking our noses in, and we very nearly gave up. We wanted our child to reach their potential, not battle and hide their difficulties.

Parent feedback from the Kip McGrath Education Centre

http://www.4d.org.nz/family/parent_perspectives.html ;
Value and act on parent concerns
Barriers to families sharing concerns
  1. Unsure who is the right person to talk to.

  2. Experiences of their concerns being dismissed in the past.

  3. Language and cultural barriers.

  4. Experience the perception that their child is seen as a problem.

  5. Teachers using language that implies a deficit view of diversity and disability.

  6. Inflexible school or class processes and protocols.

  7. Teachers being unavailable or setting aside too short a time for discussion.

  8. A lack of flexible options for communication.

  9. No processes for timely responses.

Barriers to families sharing concerns

Resources and downloads

Special education needs

This site provides practical information about education for families and whānau of children with special education needs. It describes the New Zealand education system and Ministry of Education services.

Inclusive education video series

A webpage holding nine short videos from Alberta Education’s new inclusive education video series. Topics include valuing all students; changing how we talk about disabilities; using differentiated instruction to support all learners; making sense of Universal Design for Learning; using assistive technology to support learning; scaffolding for student success; using a positive behaviour approach to support learning; rethinking the role of educational assistants; and making sense of response to intervention. Each of the nine videos comes with a conversation guide.

Consulting with whānau

We’ve got to stop thinking we know what whānau want and just ask. Because whānau will tell you, as a school, an institution, it’s what you do with that after they say it which is the important step.

And it’s how we ask, and it’s how often we ask. And it’s how many opportunities we provide for people to be safe in terms of responding openly, honestly, and frankly about what we are doing.

Source: Whānau involvement at Hiruharama School (Video)
Consulting with whānau
Investigating communication preferences (NZ) (video)
Engaging whānau

Ask whānau about their preferred means of communication

No captions or transcript available

Source: He Kākano (NZ)

Investigating communication preferences (NZ)
Evaluate family-centred approaches (image)
An unsuccessful family-centred approach
Non-inclusive approaches

Discuss with families ways of working together that respect diversity, are culturally responsive, and recognise individual needs.

Source: Michael Giangreco

Evaluate family-centred approaches
Suggestions for working with parents and whānau
  1. Regularly communicate positive information and achievements to parents and whānau.

  2. With Māori whānau, develop a shared understanding of tikanga (cultural practices), such as language, customs, obligations, traditions.

  3. Promote regular kanohi ki te kanohi, face-to-face contact to reinforce strong communication and engagement with parents and whānau right from the start.

  4. Communicate and share information in a meaningful way, demonstrating understanding and support for parent and whānau concerns.

  5. Value what parents, caregivers, family, and whānau have noticed or assessments they have had done outside school.

  6. Involve parents, families, and whānau in determining strategies to support student learning and well-being.

  7. Ask about and work with any programmes or materials being used at home to maximise consistency and support for the student.

  8. Develop systems for passing on information about a student’s needs, progress, and next steps, in ways that are meaningful.

Suggestions for working with parents and whānau
Communicating with Pasifika families

Suggestions for enhancing communication with Pasifika communities and families

  • Use accessible language in communications to families. Avoid professional jargon that might confuse or disempower families.
  • Build greater understanding of school activities by providing a rationale for them. 
  • Ensure that parents know about school activities and opportunities for participation.
  • Advise families on the protocol for parent or subject selection meetings (for example, whether the family is expected to ask questions or to simply receive information).
  • Use bilingual community liaison people to help bridge language and cultural differences between homes and the school.
  • Get parents involved in planning and management (for example, in parent/whānau groups or on boards of trustees).

Source: Effective governance: Supporting Pasifika success

Communicating with Pasifika families

Resources and downloads

An open door policy that works

Chrissie Rumpler from Owairaka School discusses how to ensure an effective open-classroom-door policy through making connections with the community and having a school structure that values the engagement. She shares some of the things her school has done to ensure that teachers understand why and how to engage with the diverse cultures represented in their school.

Perspectives of whānau

Parents of students needing additional support outline their needs and how schools can best work with them to meet those needs. Key information is from the ERO report Partners in learning: Parents’ voices. An example of practice from a primary school and discussion questions are provided on this page from the Inclusive Practices website (NZ).

Supporting transitions with Skype (NZ) (video)
Facilitating the transition to school

Children and teachers at Botany Downs Kindergarten demonstrate how they use Skype and other digital tools to build relationships and connections before going to school.

No captions or transcript available

Source: NZEI Te Rio Rua (NZ)

Supporting transitions with Skype (NZ)
Using video and blogs (NZ) (video)
Building shared understanding

Linda Ojala talks about how she used a blog with videos to shares stories about a student's learning with their family.

She describes how the approach enabled home and school to work in partnership more effectively.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Hazel Owen (NZ)

Using video and blogs (NZ)
Making effective use of technologies

Examples of utilising technologies to support communication

  1. Leave computers on at the end of the day and invite parents to view students’ digital work.

  2. Find out the types of technology that parents use and offer to share in those mediums.

  3. Consider using multiple channels, such as mobile devices, email, instant messaging services, social media, and the school website, to connect with parents and whānau.

  4. Provide deliberate support and training to show parents how they can engage with students’ work – both face-to-face and through technology.

  5. Create and promote online spaces such as blogs that invite parent participation and feedback.

  6. Establish a portal for parents to access, and contribute to, student learning.

  7. Design e-portfolios to inform future steps in learning.

Making effective use of technologies
Using e-portfolios to collaborate (NZ) (video)
e-Portfolios at Onslow College

John Robinson, HoD Learning Support, reflects on the impact of using the school management system to share information about students among staff, and e-portfolios to share learning beyond the classroom.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Using e-portfolios to collaborate (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Education for Māori: Relationships between schools and whānau

This second report from the Office of the Auditor-General, February 2015, provides an analysis of a survey of whānau, and primary and secondary schools, to find out what they thought about their relationships.

Ruia: School-whānau partnerships for Māori learners’ success

This resource supports principals and school leaders to improve outcomes for Māori students by working in educationally powerful partnerships with whānau.

Engaging with the community

This section of the Enabling e-Learning website provides examples of ways schools can engage with their communities through information and communication technologies.

Measurable Gains Framework Rubric 2.5: Effective parent, families, and whānau rubric

MGF Rubric 2.5: Effective parent, families, and whānau engagement rubric, incorporates the concept of "ako" - "productive partnerships" where Māori learners, parents, families, whānau, and educators work together to produce better outcomes. This rubric is part of the Measurable Gains Framework, developed by the Ministry of Education to measure and report on progress in implementing Ka Hikitia. The tool is easily adapted for use in schools.

Back to top

Partnering with parents and whānau to support students’ learning and wellbeing

Home-school partnerships are strengthened when parents help with learning activities at home. Parents like positive feedback about their child but they also want to know if there are concerns about learning or wellbeing.

We are true partners when:

  • you listen to what I have to say
  • you acknowledge my intelligence
  • you want to learn more about my ways
  • you don’t judge me
  • you engage me in genuine dialogue
  • we make decisions together
  • you show that my child matters to you
  • you include my experience, knowledge, and viewpoints with yours.

 

Source: Partners in learning: Parents’ voices 2008 (p 123)

Suggestions and resources

Seeking and valuing family knowledge (NZ) (video)
Involving families in transitions

Talk with parents and caregivers to build a learner profile that is underpinned by their knowledge. Find out what approaches and strategies have worked well for their children in their previous school.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Seeking and valuing family knowledge (NZ)
Parent suggestions

An ERO evaluation reported that parents suggested schools could improve their engagement with families by:

  • improving the timeliness and regularity of feedback and information, especially in relation to children’s presence, participation, learning, and achievement
  • providing regular opportunities for participation and involvement 
  • providing information about how to become involved in the school
  • ensuring that families and whānau feel they are heard, fully involved, and not rushed in meetings and interviews, or blamed for things that have happened
  • reporting on children’s progress in language and formats that can be easily understood by the student and their family 
  • being open and listening to parents’ views
  • finding ways for parents and whānau to lead activities and events, especially for other parents and their children.

Source: Partners in Learning: Schools’ engagement with parents, families and communities in New Zealand

Parent suggestions
Developing learner profiles collaboratively (image)
Learner profile
Listen for strategies that have been successful

Encourage students and families to bring examples of the student's work, and things that may be special to the student.

Have a laptop available in case a student wants to share a personal blog or photos.

Source: Ministry of Education (NZ)

Developing learner profiles collaboratively
Being mindful of student safety

As schools engage in genuine dialogue with parents and whānau, the child's safety, ongoing learning, and well-being must be of paramount consideration.

As an example, schools must always consider what might happen to a child as a consequence of information they have shared with parents and whānau concerning a child's achievement or  behaviour at school.

Being mindful of student safety
BYOD at Wairakei School (NZ) (video)
Sharing learning is easier when students can take their device home

Parents value being able to support their children's learning and see their progress.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

BYOD at Wairakei School (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Day-to-day collaboration

Practical examples of meeting student’s specific needs through collaboration with parents are provided from this page on the Inclusive Practices website (NZ).

Engaging parents, whānau, and community

This is a summary of research, which confirms that parents, whānau, and the community play an important role in children’s attitudes towards school and in helping teachers to better understand their students.

Literature Review: Transition from Early Childhood Education to School

This is a literature review on the transition from ECE to schools.

Building on strategies from home (video)
Who am I? Colin’s family

A family share their strategies for communicating and interacting with their Deaf son

Closed captioning available in player

Source: National Deaf Children’s Society (UK)

Building on strategies from home
Valuing parent knowledge of their child (image)
a ballet dancing year 12 with dyslexia
Dancing is the most important thing in her life

“Give her only a pencil or ask her to stand in front of others and talk and you will never see what she is capable of.”

Parent

Source: Chrissie Butler, CORE Education

Valuing parent knowledge of their child
Valuing parent's skills

Engagement works well when schools tap into parents’ skills, talents, and expertise. It is important that teachers trust them as parents for the knowledge they have about their child. Having teachers who believe in their child’s potential is critical to successful and sustainable learning partnerships.

Source: Partners in learning: Parents’ voices (September 2008)

Valuing parent's skills
What to ask parents and whānau

Connect with the family to understand the student’s strengths and needs. Find out about: 

people in the student’s life:

  • parent, family, and whānau hopes and priorities for them
  • the important people in the student’s life
  • the best methods and times to communicate with parents and whānau
  • the professionals working with the family and whānau 
  • the questions they have and the support they would like from the school.

practical elements:

  • the language/s spoken at home
  • students’ medications and allergies
  • the equipment used at home
  • what they do at home to support learning.

student’s likes and dislikes:

  • their likes, interests, what they’re good at, need help with, and can do independently
  • their dislikes, what can upset them, how they express this, and their calming skills
  • their favourite hobbies, books, songs, sports, TV programmes.

Bring this information together in a profile that is shared with the student, parents, and whānau.

 

What to ask parents and whānau
Identifying unknown student strengths

A parent of a child with dyslexia tells the school about her son’s interests and achievements outside school

“My son is not great at decoding. Actually he is terrible, but he loves to read using his kindle. He loves to learn and finds ways to learn all the time with his iPad.

Recently he got his first paying job – teaching some adults how to use a website and Facebook and he got paid $25 an hour. They said he was able to explain how to learn in a non-threatening and understandable way. Could this be because he has had to struggle and knows what helped him to learn?”

Identifying unknown student strengths

Resources and downloads

Family/whānau file

A booklet published by the Ministry of Education to help parents of students with additional needs to brief their child’s school.

Sharing student learning

This collection of school stories shows how technology can facilitate communication between school and the home.

Partners in learning: Parents' voices (September 2008) – Parents of children with special needs

This ERO report summarises evaluations of partnerships between schools and parents of children with special education needs.

Partners in learning: Good practice (September 2008) – Successful engagement: good practice

This evaluation report from ERO identifies key factors that contribute to the success of engagement with parents, whānau, and the wider community.

Partners in learning: Schools' engagement with parents, whānau, and communities (May 2008)

This report from the Education Review Office shows that effective partnerships between schools and parents, whānau, and communities can result in better outcomes for students.

Partners in learning: Good practice (September 2008) – Appendix 1: Indicators of successful home-school engagement

This appendix to the Partners in learning: Good practice report lists key areas and approaches for focus and indicators of success.

Become familiar with local support agencies (NZ) (video)
Introduce support agencies to parents and whānau

Gary Veenstra, Child and Family worker for the Blind Foundation, chats to families about some of the youth services on offer to students.

Note the Blind Foundation was formally called the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: BLENNZ (NZ)

Become familiar with local support agencies (NZ)
Building relationship with community groups (image)
PASG Logo
Invite representatives into school

Build relationships with local iwi and Pasifika cultural and disability groups, such as the Pasifika Autism Support Group.

Encourage students and staff to get involved in local projects making a difference to your community and providing authentic learning contexts.

Source: Pasifika Autism Support Group

Building relationship with community groups
Preparations before contacting outside agencies

Before engaging support for students from outside services and agencies:

  • find out from parents and whānau whether they are already connected with outside agencies or programmes or have been in the past, and what their experience of these has been
  • check with colleagues, especially the learning support team, to find out which services and agencies the school already has a relationship with and get some feedback on the effectiveness of the partnerships
  • research possible options for support, so that you can make an informed contribution to discussions
  • outline other possible options for support when you are discussing the specific needs of a student with their parents and whānau.
Preparations before contacting outside agencies
Understanding who can help

Build understanding of the different people and agencies that can provide additional support for students and their families

  • Within school: Learning Support Team, resource teachers (especially RTLB and RTLit), other staff and students (current and past)
  • Local community: disability agencies and services, churches, and cultural groups, other schools’ resources
  • Regional Ministry of Education offices
  • Online networks: such as D4 Dyslexia, Deaf Education Aotearoa, SPELD, Autism New Zealand

Check the most recent contact list from the Ministry of Education.

Understanding who can help

Resources and downloads

In the know

This website provides information, tips, and tools to parents of young children with disabilities in Northland.

Information for parents and caregivers of children with special education needs: Support organisations and useful contacts

A list of national organisations that support students with additional needs and their families, compiled by the Ministry of Education.

Using e-portfolios to collaborate (NZ) (video)
e-Portfolios at Onslow College

John Robinson, HoD Learning Support, reflects on the impact of using the school management system to share information about students among staff, and e-portfolios to share learning beyond the classroom.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Using e-portfolios to collaborate (NZ)
Partnerships with Pasifika families (NZ) (video)
Parents Matter

School-home partnerships that have a clear focus on Pasifika students’ learning, with everyone able to make a positive and active contribution, directly benefit Pasifika learners.

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Partnerships with Pasifika families (NZ)
Strategies to support parents at home

Strategies to support parents and whānau to support their children’s learning at home:

  • Meet face-to-face to model particular strategies or make a video of you modelling a particular strategy or approach.
  • Create opportunities where students can draw on the expertise and experience of their family/whānau and work together on a project.
  • Maintain a class blog or a weekly email to families/whānau, where you share the class focus and encourage them to share resources and ideas.
  • Avoid setting up situations where you are encouraging families/whānau to supervise homework. Although they believe schools expect them to help with their child’s homework, they are not always comfortable helping their child with academic studies.
  • Develop a shared language about learning and achievement with students and their parents and whānau so everyone is on the same page.
Strategies to support parents at home
Parents engaging with e-portfolios (NZ) (video)
The seamless support of student learning

Parents, students, and teachers comment on the impact of sharing e-portfolios.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling-e-Learning (NZ)

Parents engaging with e-portfolios (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Partners in learning: Good practice (September 2008) – Successful engagement: good practice

This evaluation report from ERO identifies key factors that contribute to the success of engagement with parents, whānau, and the wider community.

e-Portfolios

An explanation of what e-portfolios are, why they are used, school stories describing how they are used, resources, research, and readings on the Enabling e-Learning: TKI website.

Parent quote

We are told our dyslexic children often become successful when they leave school. Surely we want them to experience success whilst they are there!

A parent

Source: About Dyslexia – Ministry of Education publication
Parent quote
A parent describes inclusive practice (NZ) (video)
Learning better together

A parent talks about the high expectations the local school has for his son and the school’s inclusive practices.

No captions or transcript available

Source: IHC (NZ)

A parent describes inclusive practice (NZ)
Preparing students for life (NZ) (video)
Transition

Parent, Leah Petersen, describes how we need to have high expectations for all students, and to prepare them for life.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Te Toi Tupu (NZ)

Preparing students for life (NZ)
Sharing aspirations at Onslow College (NZ) (video)
Aspirations of parents and whānau

John Robinson describes how working closely with parents and whānau impacts on students’ learning.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Sharing aspirations at Onslow College (NZ)
Successful home-school partnerships (video)
A parent perspective

Garth Clarricoats draws on his experience of being dad to a son with autism to share insights into learning partnerships.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Te Toi Tupu

Successful home-school partnerships

Resources and downloads

Educationally powerful connections with parents and whānau

This Education Review Office (ERO) report is an evaluation of how 256 schools worked with parents and whānau to respond to students at risk of underachievement. Examples focus schools that worked with parents and whānau to accelerate and support progress and improve achievement.

Back to top

Building strong community networks

Inclusive values are developed through a student’s experiences and their exposure to other cultures and world views. Invite your community into the classroom and take your classroom out to the community.

Indicators of an inclusive culture:

  • Everyone is made to feel welcome.
  • Students help each other.
  • Staff collaborate with each other.
  • Staff and students treat one another with respect.
  • There is a partnership between staff, parents, and whānau.
  • Staff and the board of trustees work well together.
  • Local communities are involved in the school.
Source: Index for Inclusion: developing learning and participation in schools

Suggestions and resources

Victory Park community hub (NZ) (video)
Multi-service, all-age approach

Victory Park Primary School enrolls "the family, not just the child".

With the local community centre situated on the school grounds, health, social services and education work as one to support all members of a whānau.

 

No captions or transcript available

Source: Superu NZ

Victory Park community hub (NZ)
Building relationship with community groups (image)
PASG Logo
Invite representatives into school

Build relationships with local iwi and Pasifika cultural and disability groups, such as the Pasifika Autism Support Group.

Encourage students and staff to get involved in local projects making a difference to your community and providing authentic learning contexts.

Source: Pasifika Autism Support Group

Building relationship with community groups
Utilising parents’ knowledge (NZ) (video)
Parents sharing expertise

A parent describes how New Zealand Sign Language was introduced into her daughter’s school.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Inclusive Archives (NZ)

Utilising parents’ knowledge (NZ)
Valuing families’ knowledge (NZ) (video)
Offering families opportunities to share their knowledge

Parents and whānau can contribute in a variety of ways to the life of a school.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: BLENNZ (NZ)

Valuing families’ knowledge (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Working as a community

The relationships between whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, kotahitanga, and rangatiratanga school culture to build school and community culture are explained. Networks of support that can be accessed are identified on this page from the Inclusive Practices website (NZ).

Partners in learning: Parents' voices (September 2008) – Parents of children with special needs

This ERO report summarises evaluations of partnerships between schools and parents of children with special education needs.

Engaging parents, whānau, and community

This is a summary of research, which confirms that parents, whānau, and the community play an important role in children’s attitudes towards school and in helping teachers to better understand their students.

Partners in learning: Schools' engagement with parents, whānau, and communities (May 2008)

This report from the Education Review Office shows that effective partnerships between schools and parents, whānau, and communities can result in better outcomes for students.

Curriculum Implementation Exploratory Studies: Final Report – Theme F: Engaging the community

This section from the Curriculum Implementation Exploratory Studies project focuses on the different purposes of community engagement. A key purpose is for schools to involve their community in developing a shared vision and values. Contains practical strategies.

Engaging whānau at Lincoln School (NZ) (video)
Building a partnership with whānau

Staff at Lincoln School talk about their commitment to working in partnership with whānau and how they seek feedback on what is working well, and what can be improved.

No captions or transcript available

Source: He Kākano (NZ)

Engaging whānau at Lincoln School (NZ)
Owairaka School family/whānau groups (NZ) (video)
Family support at Owairaka School

Diana Tregoweth outlines some of the approaches used to support families.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Ministry of Education (NZ)

Owairaka School family/whānau groups (NZ)
Whānau involvement at Hiruharama School

We’ve got to stop thinking we know what whānau want and just ask. Because whānau will tell you, as a school, an institution, it’s what you do with that after they say it which is the important step.

And it’s how we ask, and it’s how often we ask. And it’s how many opportunities we provide for people to be safe in terms of responding openly, honestly, and frankly about what we are doing.

Source: Whānau involvement at Hiruharama School (Video)
Whānau involvement at Hiruharama School

Resources and downloads

Supporting rangatahi with common sense solutions

John Murdoch, Newlands College Deputy Principal, reflects on his school’s experience setting up a whānau advisory group.

Back to top

This is a Ministry of Education initiative

Building a world-leading education system that equips all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful citizens in the 21st century.