TI-AIE: Leading partnerships: engaging with parents and the wider school community

What this unit is about

Being a school leader is an extremely responsible job, and at times it can be very daunting. There are considerable challenges, and everything you do directly or indirectly affects the students in your school and staff, as well as the wider community. School leaders who recognise the importance of building relationships with different stakeholders stand to benefit in many ways. The numerous benefits of collaborating with other schools and organisations has been highlighted in the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005 as an integral part of promoting school quality. Collaboration has been emphasised as one of the best ways to access a wide range of material and human resources for promoting inclusion and enhancing activity-based participatory learning.

Thus, both elementary and secondary school leaders need to actively look out for partnerships and ways of building strong, collaborative relationships with the wider community. This includes key state-level institutions, school management committees (SMCs), voluntary organisations, other schools and – in particular – parents and guardians of students enrolled in their schools.

The school is a key contributor to the progress of a community and the school leader must not only know the community it serves, but also be aware of its needs, hopes and expectations. As a school leader you do not need to work alone as you will have your SMC to support you. To do this you need to communicate the ethos and expectations of the school very clearly to all the stakeholders – particularly parents, by welcoming them into school and treating them as partners in their children’s education.

The purpose of this unit is to help you to be proactive in engaging and collaborating with different stakeholders so that you can rely on their help, support and encouragement in realising the vision of your school.

Learning Diary

During your work on this unit you will be asked to make notes in your Learning Diary, a book or folder where you collect together your thoughts and plans in one place. Perhaps you have already started one.

You may be working through this unit alone, but you will learn much more if you are able to discuss your learning with another school leader. This could be a colleague with whom you already collaborate, or someone with whom you can build a new relationship. It could be done in an organised way or on a more informal basis. The notes you make in your Learning Diary will be useful for these kinds of meetings, while also mapping your longer-term learning and development.

What the school leader will learn about in this unit