What is a parent council?
A Parent Council represents all the parents of children and young people at an individual school.
Members are elected by the parent forum (the collective name for every parent, carer or guardian at a school).
As a parent, you are automatically a member of the forum.
Parent Councils have an important role to play in ensuring that a child, or young person’s education is enriched by parents’ valuable life experience, individual personal skills and unique knowledge of their own child.
What does a parent council do?
Parents play an essential role both in their own child’s learning and in the life of their school and Parent Councils help parents and carers to become more actively involved in their children’s learning.
They work to represent their school and its interests effectively and:
- provide a voice for parents, in schools and in the Council, on issues that are important to them and their children
- help the school to understand how to most effectively involve parents in their children’s learning and in the life of the school
- support the school in its development and improvement and in understanding and making links with the wider community
- support the school and head teacher in developing strong home/school partnerships
- help promote the skills, interests, knowledge and experience that parents can offer
Working with the school
Parent Councils work closely with the school to present parents’ opinions and ideas, which can make a real difference to the work and life of the school.
They help parents to get their voices heard and that their ideas and views really do matter.
They share these views with the head teacher and staff, making sure these are listened to - and taken into account - in planning and decision making.
Sharing parents' views
Every school community is different and there are a wide range of issues on which parents might have a view.
These could include:
- how the school communicates with parents
- supporting the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence by making use of parents’ skills, experiences and expertise
- helping prepare young people for key transitions, such as from nursery to primary, primary to secondary and leaving school
- discussing the opportunities available to children during key periods of their school career, such as the Senior Phase (S4-S6)
- formulating the school’s priorities for improvement (the development of the School Improvement Plan)
- revising existing school policies and introducing new policies
- any significant changes (for example, moving to a new school building)
- developing the School Handbook
Parent Councils are always looking for members to get involved and help develop school, family and community life.
It’s incredibly worthwhile.
If you're interested in giving up a little time, to make a huge difference, call your school, who will put you in touch with the chair of your Parent Council.
The Parent Council’s job is to represent and consult with the parent forum about the full range of school policies. It collects the views of parents and report them to the head teacher of the school and to the local authority. It can also make statements to school inspectors or other agencies, to represent parents’ views.
The Scottish Government's publication Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 - Section D (P27-34), offers helpful guidance for Parent Councils.
A range of additional resources are available to help you make the most of being on the Parent Council:
- There’s also The National Parent Forum of Scotland made up of 32 parent volunteer representatives, one for each local authority, tackling parental involvement at a national and government level.
- Parent Zone (Education Scotland’s resource for parents in Scotland) offers different insights and ideas to become involved in a child or young person’s education. It also has a helpful news page to keep you up-to-date with the latest developments in Scottish Education.