Parents and Schools – Working Together

Catholic schools welcome opportunities to work with you in educating your child. The partnership between you and the school, especially your child’s teachers, is crucial to ensuring that your child has the best opportunities to enjoy the school experience and to learn effectively.

As a parent, you can contribute your own knowledge and skills at all levels, to assist your child’s learning, to support the school’s goals and to promote the principles of Catholic education.

There are many ways in which parents and schools can work together to improve the educational experience and outcomes for their children. You can help your child in many areas of school life, as suggested in the list opposite.

Parents have a particularly important role to play in the educating community, since it is to them that primary and natural responsibility for their children’s education belongs.

(Congregation for Catholic Education 1997)

What you can do to help your child at school 

Faith Development

Attend school and parish liturgies and Masses, sacramental education and faith development evenings.
Participate in and discuss religious education learning activities and social justice initiatives.
Build a partnership with the school and teachers to support your child’s faith and learning.


Learning

Encourage your child to take increasing responsibility for his/her learning and organisational skills.
Discuss with your child his/her learning and progress.
Establish regular contact with your child’s teacher.
Encourage reading by setting an example – reading yourself.
Read texts (e.g. novels, plays) set by your child’s teachers.
Discuss your child’s response to the texts and ask to see work s/he completes on these texts.
Regularly review your child’s learning program, assessment requirements and assessment reports where these are available online via the school’s intranet.


Wellbeing

Encourage healthy eating, sufficient sleep and regular physical activity.
Encourage positive attitudes, values and behaviours like courtesy, confidence, persistence, and doing your best.
Celebrate your child’s successes.
Help your child balance the amount of time spent on school work and in recreational pursuits.


School activities

Encourage your child to participate in the school’s co-curricular program.
Attend school events and co-curricular programs in which your child is involved.
Become actively involved in school community activities such as the School Board, parent groups and parent education programs.

School attendance

Regular attendance at school is vital if students are to obtain maximum benefit from the educational and social opportunities that the school can offer. Young people who attend school regularly and complete Year 12 or its equivalent have better health outcomes and access to a much wider range of post- school education, training and employment opportunities.

As a parent, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the school’s attendance requirements and procedures, which in most instances are provided at the time of enrolment and published on the school’s website. You are responsible for ensuring that your child attends school every day, on time, and for explaining absences in a timely manner.

Your child’s homeroom teacher or year level cooordinator is directly responsible for monitoring daily attendance and patterns of absences and lateness, while the principal is responsible for determining if any irregular attendance or sustained absence is reasonable. If there are concerns about a student’s record of attendance, the matter may be referred to a government Attendance Officer who has extensive powers of inquiry to investigate extended absences from school without a reasonable excuse.

There may be occasions when your child is reluctant or refuses to attend school, Such occasions may increase in frequency and reflect a pattern of worrying behaviour. You are strongly encouraged to work in partnership with your child’s teacher to address factors which may be causing the problem and to implement agreed strategies to promote attendance.

Learning at home

Catholic schools usually advise parents of homework expectations at the beginning of the school year. You can assist your child with his/her learning at home in a number of ways.

What you can do to help your child with homework
Ask whether homework has been set and ensure your child keeps a homework diary.
Acknowledge your child’s success and ask how his/her learning and class work are progressing.
Help your child to plan and organise a time and space for completing work at home.
Assist your child to complete work at home by discussing key questions and directing him/her to resources.
Discuss homework in your child’s first language (where English is not the main language spoken at home) and link it to his/her previous experience.

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For further information and ‘helpful hints’ in ensuring your child’s regular attendance at school, see the Every Day Counts website
www.education.vic.gov.au/school/principals/participation/Pages/everyday.aspx.

Your child's progress

Our schools welcome opportunities to communicate with you about your child’s progress, to enable you to:

assist with your child’s progress
see examples of work
develop a relationship with your child’s teachers.

There are formal and informal occasions for this, both face-to-face and in writing.

As a parent you can contribute your own knowledge and skills at all levels, to assist your child’s learning.

Career options

Parents play a vital role in guiding and advising students about career options.

As parents, you are aware of your child’s particular interests and abilities. This knowledge helps when choices are considered for post-compulsory education, training and employment options. However, it is the young person’s ongoing life choices that are the key.

Each individual needs to be encouraged to accept this responsibility as part of his/her maturing. Happily, and with sound support from home and school, this is a common outcome.

Contact information

It is important that you keep the school up to date with your contact telephone numbers and those of an emergency contact. In cases of emergency or ill health, the school will immediately contact you so you can collect your child or approve the appropriate medical attention.

Annual school reports

Every Victorian Catholic school provides an Annual School Report on its activities to parents and the wider community.

This report gives parents a clearer idea of the nature and outcomes of each school. The report includes important information such as enrolment and financial data, student attendance, the range of activities provided, overall performance of students on tests such as the NAPLAN and VCE, results of parent and student surveys and teacher qualifications.

The Annual School Report is normally found on the school’s website, as well as on the State Register. Similar information about every school in Australia may also be found on the My School website.

For the State Register, see
www.vrqa.vic.gov.au
For My School, see
www.myschool.edu.au.

 

School/College boards

College boards are established in most Catholic colleges. College boards bring together priests, members of religious orders, principals and parents and friends of the college in a spirit of collaboration to realise the college’s vision and achieve its educational aims. The boards are established under various governance models and vary in responsibility and function, from advisory boards, incorporated boards or boards of management. Membership is defined in the board constitution.

‘In schools… families have a most important place and role. Catholic schools appreciate their value, and promote their participation in the school, where they can assume various forms of co-responsibility’.
(Congregation for Catholic Education 2013)

Procedures and processes for parent representation on college boards are available through the Principal’s Office.

Parents and friends associations

Most schools have a parents’ association, often called the Parents and Friends Association or a Parents Auxiliary. These groups offer an opportunity for parents to gather and become involved in the life of the school. These groups take many forms and provide support for the school in areas such as:

social functions
maintenance of grounds, buildings and equipment
fundraising for particular needs in the school
voluntary support for educational programs.

Parent groups can also assist in fostering the intellectual, cultural, social and spiritual interests of their members, and provide opportunities for the development of community spirit among the staff and parents.

Parent support

Catholic schools and Catholic Education Offices are committed to developing and maintaining opportunities for parent and community participation in the education of their children.

Victorian Catholic Schools Parent Body (VCSPB)

The Victorian Catholic Schools Parent Body (VCSPB) was established in October 2005. Its role is to:

provide a forum to represent parents in Victorian Catholic schools
promote parents as partners in education with the school, the Church and the community
promote the principles of Catholic education in collaboration with the diocesan Bishops
promote Catholic schools as schools of first choice for Catholic families.

The VCSPB provides an avenue for parents to participate at diocesan, state and national levels, advocates for Catholic school communities, and represents parents of students in Catholic schools through their school boards or parent associations. Each diocese has a representative on the VCSPB who ensures that school boards are informed about state issues.

For more information, see www.vcspb.catholic.edu.au.