What are the Parent Forum and Parent Council?
The membership of a Parent Forum is made up of parents who have a child at an education authority school. Parents are automatically members of the Parent Forum for their school. One of the ways parents in the Parent Forum will be able to express their views will be through the Parent Council. As a member of the Parent Forum, each parent can expect to:
• Receive information about the school and its activities
• Hear more in future about what partnership with parents means in their school
• Be invited to be involved in ways and times that suit them
• Participate in deciding how the parent representative body, the Parent Council, is organised and how it operates
• Identify issues they want the Parent Council to work on with the school
• Be asked their opinion by the Parent Council on issues relating to the school and the education it provides
• Work in partnership with staff
• Enjoy taking part in the life of the school in whatever way they can.
It is important that all parents know about their membership of the Parent Forum.
What is the Parent Council?
The Parent Council is a group of parents selected by members of the Parent Forum to represent all the parents of children at a school. Parent Councils are very flexible groups and the Parent Forum can decide on the type of group it wants to represent their views. Parents might decide they want a representative from each year group in the school. They might want to include pupils, other teachers at the school or parents from a feeder primary or secondary school. This flexibility allows parents to choose a Parent Council which reflects their school and will encourage parents to get involved.
The type of things a Parent Council could get involved in include:
• Supporting the work of the school
• Gathering and representing parents’ views to the headteacher, education authority and HMIE
• Promoting contact between the school, parents, pupils, providers of nursery education and the local community
• Organising events
• Being involved in the appointment of senior staff.
Main Features of Parent Councils
• The Parent Forum decides on the type of Parent Council and constitution that is right for the school
• Only parents of children at that school can be members of the Parent Council
• The Parent Forum can agree that the Parent Council constitution allows other people to be co-opted
• The local church or denominational body can nominate someone to be co-opted onto the Parent Council of a denominational school
• The Parent Council chair must be a parent of a child at that school
• The headteacher or their representative has a right and a duty to attend Parent Council meetings, unless the parents and headteacher decide otherwise
• Schools can choose to set up a Combined Parent Council which would cover more than one school.