Parents and carers are a child’s first educator

Parents and carers provide support, values and life-long lessons to their children.

At the same time, children benefit from the expertise of teaching professionals and a structured learning environment. ​

Research shows that engaging parents and carers in their child’s education at school leads to better educational and wellbeing outcomes. ​

That is why we are building stronger partnerships across education communities, between learners, parents and carers, educators and staff, to help to foster engagement and positive learning and wellbeing outcomes.

The 5 principles of effective engagement

We aim to strengthen our engagement with parents and carers through five guiding principles.

Give me access

  • Provide a safe and welcoming environment.
  • Make it easy for me to participate.
  • Support me to understand the environment.

Effective engagement relies on easy access. This means parents and carers need to feel welcome and safe. They also need opportunities to engage in all different ways.

Provide a safe and welcoming environment

  • I feel safe and welcome in relation to my child’s school, in person and online.
  • I feel comfortable about raising any concerns or requests I have about my child’s needs.

Make it easy for me to participate

  • I can easily complete any tasks in a way that suits me.
  • I can access the information I need in a language and format I understand.

Support me to understand the environment

  • I’m able to see what my child is learning and know how I can support them.
  • I can access resources that help me understand what’s going on at school.

Communicate with me openly

  • Keep me informed and make it easy for me to understand.
  • Make it easy for me to communicate with you.
  • Provide a timely response.

Open communication builds trust between parents, carers, educators and staff. How and how much a person likes to communicate will vary. That’s why it’s important to be flexible about how we communicate.

Keep me informed and make it easy for me to understand

  • I receive relevant, clear and timely information about what my child is doing, including any activities or events they may be involved in.
  • I am informed about my child’s learning, wellbeing and developmental progress, and about issues that arise.

Make it easy for me to communicate with you

  • I can easily talk with educators and staff and contact the right person.
  • I can easily share feedback, including any compliments or complaints I may have.

Provide a timely response

  • I receive responses that are both timely and respectful when I interact with my child’s school.

Partner with me

  • Be clear about what I can expect and what is expected from me.
  • Partner with me to achieve shared goals.
  • Follow up on our discussions.

Be clear about what I can expect and what’s expected from me

When educators and staff form a partnership with parents and carers, everyone benefits from a diversity of views and experiences. Through partnership and collaboration, families and educators gain vital information that helps our children succeed.

  • Be clear about what I can expect and what’s expected from me.
  • I clearly understand what I should be doing and what I can expect my child’s educators and staff to do.
  • I’m shown how to support my child’s learning and development.

Partner with me to achieve shared goals

  • I get help in setting goals with my child.
  • I work in partnership with my child’s educators and staff to help achieve these shared goals.

Follow up on our discussions

  • I can rely on any actions being completed as agreed.

Understand my situation

  • Hear my voice.
  • Invite my perspective.
  • Show you understand my individual circumstances.

Parents and carers want to feel confident their child is understood and has the support they need to achieve their potential. Confidence comes with communication, connection and responsiveness. Taking the time to mutually understand each other throughout a child’s education is highly valued.

Hear my voice

  • I’m asked what’s important to me and what I would like to see happen as a result of my feedback.

Invite my perspective

  • My views on my child’s needs are listened to and valued.

Show you understand my individual circumstances

  • My child and my individual circumstances are understood and considered.
  • My culture is respected.

Guide my choices

  • Clearly explain my choices.
  • Be clear about how decisions are made.
  • Include me in the decision-making process.

The decisions parents and carers make and the support they provide through their child’s education can have long-term consequences. This is why they want to be included in decision-making. Parents and carers are uniquely positioned to present their child’s situation and understand any potential impacts on their life.

Clearly explain my choices

  • I am informed about any opportunities and choices that are relevant to me and my child.
  • My contributions are acknowledged and encouraged.

Be clear about how decisions are made

  • I am given a clear explanation about any decisions made and their possible outcomes.

Include me in the decision-making process

  • My point of view is welcomed and considered in decisions about my child’s education.

Learn more

Find out about the initiatives that the department already has underway to enable the Parent and Carer Engagement Principles.

Find out about the department’s focus on understanding the student, parent and carer experience.

Strong partnerships are created when parents, carers, educators and staff work together with mutual respect and a shared understanding of what is in the best interests of the learners they support.

What role do I play?

As a parent or carer, your engagement is critical to your child’s learning journey and education outcomes.

Helpful ways to engage in your child’s education include:

  • understanding their education goals and aspirations, whether academic, social, wellbeing or beyond.
  • finding ways to reinforce learning at home by engaging with your child’s interests and what they are learning at school. Access the NSW Education Standards current curriculum and links to resources to support your child’s learning at home.
  • working together with educators and staff to support your child's development.
  • respectfully sharing compliments, feedback or suggestions through your school or other channels of feedback.

Your responsibility

You play a key role in supporting your child’s education by creating a positive learning environment for our students and engaging with NSW Public Schools in a respectful way. This involves:

  • treating educators and school staff with respect.

  • understanding the environment and constraints school staff work with, including working hours and availability.

  • acting in a way that creates a safe and welcoming environment.

  • working in partnership with the school to promote your child’s learning.

  • Engaging with school materials, policies and notices as needed and where appropriate.

  • prioritising the wellbeing of students and staff.

Read the School Community Charter for information about your responsibility and the role you play.

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