Family-school and community partnerships are an effective way to support and empower positive parent engagement, and bring together family and community resources to enrich student learning and wellbeing.
The Family-School Partnerships Framework
The Family-School Partnerships Framework was developed to promote and guide partnership building. It was endorsed by Australia's Education Ministers in 2008. Partnership building was later identified as a national priority for schools in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians.
The Framework has been refreshed through a series of supporting materials, offering research insights, practical advice and a range of resources including fact sheets and case studies.
Core principles of effective family-school partnerships
The core principles are:
- parents and families are the first and continuing educators of their children
- learning is lifelong and occurs in multiple settings
- partnerships, schools and school communities flourish when the diversity and strengths of families are valued and leveraged
- community engagement expands responsibility and resources
- partnerships grow from mutual trust, respect and responsibility
- partnerships need committed, collaborative and creative leadership.
Key dimensions of family-school partnerships
The seven key dimensions that frame relationship and partnership building are:
- connect learning at home and school
- build community and identity
- recognise the role of the family
- consult on decision-making
- collaborate beyond the school
Building family-school partnerships
The characteristics that indicate effective partnerships are:
- responsive to student and family needs and aspirations
- purposefully co-designed with clear goals
- commitment to collaboration
- mutual trust and respect
- equal valuing of the different roles in the partnership
- sharing of responsibility and influence
- open dialogue and effective communication
- appropriate and adequate resources.
School communities can reflect on their current culture, practices and plan for improvement using the Family-School Partnership Framework and supporting materials.