Time for the development of a Parent Ambassador programme…”Claires Court Parent Voice”?

Claires Court Ambassador Programme ­ “Parent Voice” Proposals

It is an interesting truism in life that if you want something done, do it yourself. Actually, it is a Factoid – one of those oft repeated phrases that becomes true because of the sheer number of times it is both said and heard. You would not manage your own tooth extraction or hip replacement, of course you would not. As a School Principal, indeed as a previous parent and pupil of my school, I might be better placed than most to know what the ‘parent and pupil from Claires Court on the omnibus’ thinks about our school. But that’s no replacement for the other 3000+ voices we need to listen to who are members of our community. These are current pupils (1072), parents and family (double that number at least) and teachers/administrators/other employees.

Our annual questionnaires with Parents, Pupils and Staff provide excellent food for thought. The outcomes from the 2015 Parental Survey have been presented to the main PTA board, and over the next couple of weeks I am meeting with the various PTA local groups to share those outcomes, and once that’s done, provide a written public report for our community. Now whilst all this is excellent practice and noble etc., it does not provide the insightful, analytical, surgical or personal actions that might make our school much more successful come next Monday.

During our meetings with pupils, parents, friends, PTA trustees and visitors, we are increasingly aware that having good Ambassadors who are willing to go that extra mile to speak up for us and support our activities is a major bonus. During every school year and particularly in reviews and Speech Days, we have discussed and prominently congratulated the brilliant work of our School parent teacher association groups. However, we cannot expect to much of the same people, hence earlier this Academic year, the Principals and Headteachers have chosen to prioritise the recruitment and deployment of Parent Ambassadors.  Here’s my first go at highlighting what that plan might look like.

Parent Ambassadors

We have 3 types possible, and a mix of all three across age and stage are desirable:

  • Past parents who know the school really well, have built a positive reputation that we can trust.
  • Current parents who want to add something extra into their engagement with the school.
  • Current parents who are also teachers/administrators who have the key skills we need already in place.

What is the Parent Ambassador cohort? 

● As a member of the Parent Ambassador Cohort, parents of current Claires Court pupils will have the opportunity to use their leadership skills in support of improving Claires Court policies and practices that benefit pupils, teachers and parents.

● Cohort membership is aimed to enhance the skills, knowledge, and confidence of parents necessary to create meaningful change within Claires Court and the wider community.

● A successful Parent Ambassador will be able to Increase other parents’ knowledge about Claires Court, as well as inform on local and national educational issues

● Engage prospective and existing parents and inspire them to assist with the transition into the school, help them settle in, become more active, loyal and engaged within our community.

● Work with key leadership staff to provide ‘Critical Friend’ advice to improved policies, procedures, practice and provision

How many of the above roles would a Parent Ambassador fill?

My guess is either outward facing Ambassador or inward facing friend. Or both.

Information for Parents

What is the level of commitment to participate in the Parent Ambassador Program?

  • Attend a one day orientation, including safeguarding element
  • participate in at least six events a year,
  • More generally and regularly, Inform and inspire other parents with your knowledge, passion, and belief that Claires Court as an educational environment is ideally suited for most children
  • Notification to the Parent Ambassador cohort by email will invite parents to participate. We know our parents are busy, so this system will permit you to be as involved as you wish, but no less than 6 occasions a year.

The benefits of being a Parent Ambassador include:

  • Opportunities to be engaged in Open Day and external Marketing events and campaigns
  • Increased knowledge about current education policy and issues, plus site­-local developments, inc. healthy eating, welfare matters, digital innovation and mindfulness
  • Participation in advocacy related activities, education/inspection meetings, press briefings and research
  • Networking opportunities with parent and community leaders
  • Recognition once a year at our main Speech and Prize giving events

What next? 

Please have a think about these proposals and give me some feedback!  In the first instance, either by commenting on this post or directly by email. Once I know the issues and concepts you flag up, I can write a little more and run a survey for best fit of expectations and concerns. My best email address to use is jtw@clairescourt.net. I look forward to hearing from you in whatever way you think appropriate.

About jameswilding

Academic Principal Claires Court Schools Long term member & advocate of the Independent Schools Association
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2 Responses to Time for the development of a Parent Ambassador programme…”Claires Court Parent Voice”?

  1. Aurore Pettitt says:

    Hello James, I would be very interested in participating to the Parent Ambassador Program,
    Aurore Pettitt

  2. Pingback: “Successful people are not gifted; they just work hard, then succeed on purpose.” – G.K. Nielson | A Principled view

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