SHS has been breaking down barriers to learning since 1984, whatever they may be: domestic violence, poor housing, extreme poverty, mental health. The issues themselves often vary: our data from last year, for example, shows a continuing trend that our practitioners are having to focus more strongly than ever before on child protection issues, with safeguarding interventions increasing from 5.7% to 9.3% of total interventions over the last five years. We have also found ourselves supporting children and their families with increasingly complex needs.
When it comes to resolving these issues, a vital piece of the puzzle is our expertise in supporting schools with parental engagement; creating positive change with how parents engage with both their children and their children’s education.
Last week, we held an evening reception to raise awareness of parental engagement as a tool for transforming the lives of vulnerable children. We also wanted to highlight how we specifically use parental engagement to create change.
The event was held at the Tower Bridge Engine Rooms and the venue was fitting given that we often describe SHS acting as the bridge between school and home. We heard from Claire Ingrams from Woodland Academy Trust in Bexley, describing the impact it makes in their schools to have SHS practitioners engaging parents. We also heard from Tony Scawthorn, Chief Operating Officer at corporate partner Liberum Capital. Our partnership with Liberum was recently recognised with the prestigious Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award for Education and Lifelong Learning, and Tony explained how a key component of the partnership is for the company to run aspiration sessions for children, inviting them into the office and encouraging them in their aspirations for their lives and opportunities. Crucially, parents are invited to join their children, which helps embed the messages they hear about working hard and aspiration.
Guests were invited to share their own perspectives on parental engagement on the night with a specially designed board with a picture of Tower Bridge (kindly produced by our friends at Instinctif Partners.) The board had the words ‘school’ and ‘home’ on each of the towers and we were thrilled that so many guests shared their thoughts with us on how important it is to engage parents. We were also happy to show a new video featuring some of the families we’ve worked with over the past year, who have benefitted from improved parental engagement.
We also recently launched our brand new 2015/16 Impact Report, so guests were able to take fresh-off-the-press copies home with them. This gave more detail on the impact we’ve been able to make in the past year, offering evidence as to why our methods are both practical and effective. It also gave further detail on the families featured in our video.
Thank you to Goldsmiths’ again, and to everyone who joined us on the night.