Parents, families, and carers are a child's first and most important teachers. When families and schools work together children’s learning is enhanced. The Australian Government has many initiatives and resources to help parents, schools, and communities work together to improve children’s learning.
Partnerships for learning and wellbeing
Parents, families, and carers are a child's first and most important teachers. When families and schools work together children’s learning is enhanced.
Partnerships for learning and wellbeing are about parents and carers, schools and communities working together to ensure that every parent can play a positive role in their child's learning, school community, sport, and social life.
Parents and families play an important role in supporting their child's education. Research has shown that when schools and families work together, children:
- do better
- stay in school longer
- are more engaged with their schoolwork
- go to school more regularly
- behave better
- have better social skills
Partnerships for learning also result in longer term economic, social and emotional benefits.
The Australian Government has many initiatives and resources as outlined below to help parents, schools, and communities work together to improve children’s learning.
The Smith Family Learning for Life Program expansion
The Australian Government invested $48 million to expand The Smith Family's Learning for Life program to support an extra 24,000 disadvantaged students and their families. This has brought the total number of students supported by the program to over 56,000 as at June 2020.
The Australian Government provided an additional $3 million in June 2020 to further support students on the Learning for Life program with access to more educational wrap around programs.
The Learning for Life program provides financial, practical, and emotional support in over 90 disadvantaged communities across Australia.
Support is provided in the early years of learning and continues through primary and high school to help students to stay at school, complete Year 12, (or equivalent) and successfully transition from school to work, or to further education and training
The parent engagement implementation guide
The Parent Engagement Implementation Guide aims to provide school communities with practical guidance on implementing successful parent and family engagement practices.
The guide was developed by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth and is the result of a four-year parent and family engagement in learning project funded by the Australian Government.
Parent engagement resources to support school transitions
The Australian Government provided funding to Catholic School Parents Australia to undertake cross-sectoral research on effective parent engagement in primary and secondary schools. The findings were used to develop a series of toolkits and video case studies for families and schools to help with children’s transition into primary and secondary school.
Learning Potential resources can be accessed for free through an app and website. It provides parents, families, and carers with practical tips and inspiring ways to be more involved in their child's learning, from the highchair to high school.
Family-School Partnerships Framework
The Family-School Partnerships Framework supports school leaders, teachers and school teams to build partnerships between schools and families.
The Framework’s vision is for families, schools and communities to actively work together as partners to support learning, development and wellbeing of children and young people.
The revised Family-School Partnerships Framework materials include:
- Family-School Partnerships Framework – Factsheets.
- Seven key dimensions that frame relationship and partnership building.
- Strategies for each key dimension used to support school communities in building and improving family-school partnerships.
- School Assessment Tool—Reflection Matrix. This tool can help schools identify areas of strength and focus areas for further work.
- Australian case studies developed to illustrate aspects of the revised Family-School Partnerships Framework.
These revised materials provide an update to the 2008 Family-School Partnerships Framework.
National Parent bodies
The Australian Government recognises the following national parent bodies to give parents a voice in education policy development:
- Australian Council of State School Organisations, representing the interests of the parents, families and school communities attending government schools throughout Australia
- Australian Parents Council, representing the interests of parents in the non-government sector, including the both Catholic and independent sectors
- Isolated Children's Parents' Association, advocating for rural and regional education issues from early childhood through to tertiary education and representing the interests of parents and families living in isolated areas throughout Australia
- Catholic School Parents Australia, representing the interests of parents in the Catholic schooling sector