BELB think outside the box to get parents involved

Education professionals from schools throughout Belfast came together this week to focus on how to involve parents more in school life. The Belfast Education and Library Board’s (BELB) Parent Support Programme hosted a one-day seminar with motivational consultant Glenn Hinds which offered Principals, teachers, classroom assistants and community partners the opportunity to explore new methods of motivating parents to become involved in their children’s education. “Children do better at school when parents are involved in their education. All the participants at the seminar work directly with parents to encourage and support their involvement with their child’s education,” said Caroline Magowan from BELB Parent Support Programme. “The aim of the seminar was to challenge those professionals to think imaginatively about how to engage those parents who have been traditionally difficult to reach. The message of the day was that there is no such thing as ‘hard to reach’ parents, just that different methods are required to motivate and engage those parents. “Glenn really challenged all the participants to think in a different way. It wasn’t about sharing ideas or resources for workshops and projects with parents, it was about asking ‘what do I need to do to get those parents involved?’” Sharon Lennon, Principal of Blythefield Primary School in East Belfast, attended the seminar and admitted that while the day was demanding, it was hugely enjoyable and relevant for practitioners working with parents. “It wasn’t what I was expecting at all, but way, way better. I was overwhelmed by how much my brain was having to think! It was a very stimulating and thought-provoking day that focussed on a wide range of skills from motivation techniques to managing and responding to resistance,” said Sharon. The seminar coincided with the launch of the Department of Education’s ‘Get Involved’ campaign which is aimed at raising awareness of the value of a good education and highlighting the benefits of parental involvement.