Findings of a two-year research project on how to better involve migrant parents in their children's education were heard at a meeting in Ealing.
More than 80 people came together in Ealing town hall on March 5 to hear about specially tailored induction programmes for new arrivals; peer buddy systems where parents who do not speak English well are linked with others from the same ethnic background who do; and informal parent groups where parents meet school staff in an informal setting at a ‘coffee morning’ once every term.
Engaging Migrant Parents and Children (EMPAC) is a European Union funded project involving education teams from Ealing, Bologna in Italy and the Usti Region of the Czech Republic, which aims to improve the educational achievement of under-performing students aged three to 11 from newly-arrived families across Europe.
The project team identified and piloted new ways of supporting the integration of migrant families, through a rigorous research project and by visiting each other’s schools and nurseries and sharing best practice.
Latest figures show that more than 60% of the pupils in local primary schools have English as an additional language and Ealing schools use a number of successful approaches to involve families in their children’s education.
Representatives from Usti and Ealing also signed a declaration of co-operation in which they agreed to continue sharing innovative practice and expertise.
Councillor Binda Rai, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Parents have a crucial role to play in their children’s education and this project shows the benefits of the school connecting with them and treating them as partners.
“Newly arrived families can come from countries with a different education system; and sometimes from parts of the world with hardly any education system at all, so schools can face many challenges in integrating families. I am proud to say that our schools already do an excellent job and this EU-funded project has also given us the opportunity to learn from the work of our European neighbours.”