Research shows that students achieve better outcomes when schools, families and the community work together to support learning. Schools and families both benefit from strong, respectful family-school relationships and when they share responsibility for student learning.
The Multicultural Education Policy promotes positive community relations with parents from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and encourages the active participation of families from culturally diverse backgrounds in school life and decision making processes.
Interpreting and translation services are available to support communication between schools and families who don't speak English well, or are deaf or speech impaired. The department has translated documents and publications for schools to use to communicate with parents and build strong family-school relationships.
Resources to support community engagement in NSW public schools include:
- Community consultation: examples of how schools allocate funds to achieve improved student outcomes through stronger community engagement and consultation
- Working in partnership: resources and strategies to support engagement by families and communities from all backgrounds
- Opening the school gate: Engaging migrant and refugee families (PDF 2.6MB), Opening the digital school gate and the Opening the school gate online resource provide teachers and school staff with a range of strategies to support migrant and refugee parents/carers to fully participate in school life
- Strengthening community harmony: Advice and resources for schools (PDF 653KB) provides advice to schools about building and maintaining school community harmony. Includes suggested responses for managing community disharmony
- Building Relationships with Aboriginal Families in Schools - This guide includes short and long term strategies that schools can use to build and maintain positive relationships between Aboriginal families and school staff.
Family-School Partnerships are an effective way to support and empower positive parent engagement and bring together family and community resources to enrich student learning and wellbeing. The Family School Partnerships Framework was developed to promote and guide partnership building. A School Assessment Tool Reflection Matrix is available to help schools identify areas of strength and focus areas for further work.
Examples of practice
The Family School Partnerships Framework identifies seven dimensions for effective family and community engagement. The following digital clips focus on strategies implemented at various schools to strengthen the engagement of families from culturally diverse backgrounds across the dimensions.
- communicate (digital clip 3:36 mins, read the transcript)
- connect learning at home and school (digital clip 2:54 mins, read the transcript)
- build community and identity (digital clip 4:37 mins, read the transcript)
- recognise the role of the family (digital clip 5:14 mins, read the transcript)
- consult on decision-making (digital clip 3:05 mins, read the transcript)
- collaborate beyond the school (digital clip 3:30 mins, read the transcript)
- participate (digital clip 3:12 mins, read the transcript).
The online professional learning session Engaging Culturally Diverse Communities is targeted at school leaders and staff who want to effectively communicate and engage with their culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Schools will explore effective consultative decision-making and engagement strategies across their changing demographics. Currenly only part one of the course is available for participants to undertake.