Partnership Schools Ireland is a joint initiative by National Parents Council Primary (NPC), the Irish Primary Principals' Network and the Department of Education and Skills
Better outcomes for children are the main objectives of a “Partnership School”, achieved by the whole school community, planning and working together on agreed activities.
In 2014 Dr Joyce Epstein, from Johns Hopkins University at a key note address at National Parents Council Primary (NPC) conference, introduced the Action Team for Partnership programme. She challenged that the goal of parental involvement should be through these Partnership Teams and should be to support better outcomes for children in education.
Decades of research clearly illustrates that when parents are involved children do better. Dr Joyce Epstein believes that schools should not be just encouraging parental involvement, but working in equal partnership with parents, teachers and the wider school community, to improve outcomes for children.
Through the Partnership Schools Ireland programme the Partnership Team becomes the main focus of the partnership in school. The Partnership Team will work with teachers, support staff, parents, children and community members working together to discuss the current work of the school, to find ways to enhance and add value through specific goals and develop a yearly action plan.
The Partnership Schools Ireland programme is now in its third year in Ireland, with 29 schools participating. It hopes to develop further and involve more schools across the country. The work is a joint project between NPC and the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN).
When setting up the first Partnership Team in the school the Principal chooses the membership ensuring that those involved will be committed to this partnership style of working. Following training, the Partnership Team will then:
- Develop a one year action plan with activities linked to goals selected by the partnership: two curriculum, one behavioural and one to improve the welcoming climate in the school
- The Partnership Team will monitor each goal and work together to overcome any barriers in achieving the goal
- Will recruit and invite others to help and achieve goals each year
- At the end of each year the Partnership Team will identify how each goal has benefited the children and the school’s partnership progress
- Ensure the board of management, parent association and parents are informed of the Partnership Team's activities and celebrate its achievements
Getting honest input from children, parents, teachers and community members is both refreshing and informative and brings richness and vitality to projects which may otherwise be difficult to achieve.
Interested? Training to become a partnership school consists of 2 x 3 hours sessions and by the end of training the school’s first action plan is in place.
The training is free. To learn more or book training dates please contact Liam McPherson - Co-ordinator, by phoning 01 8874478 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org