Transcript for consult on decision-making - examples from schools

The following transcript has been edited for clarity.

Voice over - Families are represented in the school decision making process through parent bodies, committees and other forums.  At Islington Public School they ensure that families from different cultural groups are supported to become involved with the school representative body.

School principal

The first part of running the school plans and policies and consulting with the school community, and a diverse community to value a voice, is the conversations that every staff member has with parents every single day.

It’s the informal, it’s having a group of people who have some cultural knowledge and we’re very fortunate here that we have a number of staff that hold cultural knowledge of a number of our communities that attend the school and because of that it means that all of our policies are informed by their cultural knowledge and then when we move to a consultation, we then email the draft document out to the community through the P&C and they consult upon it, they give us feedback and then we look at their feedback in terms of whether our policies and procedures and the way we do things at this school, maintain their cultural inclusiveness and integrity.

Teacher

They have come from a culture where they did not have any involvement in any way with school policies, decision-making and everything.

So that’s just, having that conversation with parents, and letting them know that it is OK for them to be involved in their children’s life, and they have a say in the decision-making that happens in their schools and policies of the schools where they go to.

Voice over - It is important that schools recognise and overcome barriers to parents getting involved in decision making processes.

A lot of our parents in this school feel like they do not have enough conversational English to actually get involved with any community consultations that may happen in the school.

So we had a case where we had a community consultation in the school and one of our parents, she did not feel confident enough to actually go and give her point of view and what her opinions were on schooling and so I just - because I speak Swahili - I sat with her and you know, was able to interpret for her, what was happening, just let her know, that whatever she say I could put forward for her and she could speak to me in Swahili and I would translate it into English. And she felt by the end of the meeting, there was a sense of you know, feeling of an accomplishment, and that she belonged in the school community and she was quite happy and willing to come back the next time and do such things.

School principal

It’s the relationships you build every single day, talking to parents morning and afternoon, saying hello, asking how things are going, asking if their children are happy, are their needs being met, is there anything else we can do, the emphasis is placed on care and it is reciprocated.

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