Family-School Partnerships Framework

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:

  • communicate
  • connect learning at home and school
  • build community and identity
  • recognise the role of the family
  • consult on decision-making
  • collaborate beyond the school
  • participate.

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.

Factsheet: Building partnerships