‘See the Impact’ sessions provide the perfect opportunity to meet some pretty amazing people: SHS Practitioners and the families they support. We host regular sessions (once a term) in our schools for anyone interested in learning more about our approach to tackling educational inequality.
We know making a difference and creating lasting change for children and families starts with trusting relationships. Given the chance, we’ll talk to you about the work our practitioners do ‘til the cows come home. We’re pretty good at explaining how our staff get to know parents, how they provide support as well as challenges, and how they judge when it’s right to encourage parents and when firmer words might be needed. However, there’s nothing quite like seeing and ‘feeling’ it for yourself.
This term’s ‘See the Impact’ session took place at Edward Wilson Primary School in Westminster, a larger than average primary school with 400 children on roll. Forget any preconceptions you may have of this school being in one of the wealthiest boroughs in London; over 70% of children at Edward Wilson are entitled to receive free school meals (a means tested benefit) and over 90% of children have English as a second language.
SHS Practitioner, Eden Taddese, has been based at Edward Wilson for 13 years. Her work is vital; many of the families she supports have low levels of literacy and a significant number of parents are illiterate. Those of you who know what Year 6 SATS entail will appreciate just how high the odds are stacked against children whose parents struggle to read English. So how does a school like Edward Wilson get parents to become active agents in their children’s learning in those circumstances? With food and celebrations! Not the most obvious solution, but over the last few years, Eden has involved parents from different cultures with the school and with their children’s education by getting them to put on celebrations at school as a first step. As well as celebrating diversity, parents have been determined to ensure their children understand and adopt British values.
Hannaa (parent of 3 boys at Edward Wilson): “We celebrate all the different cultures here at school, but we’ve done English celebrations too; this is really important for our children. We want them to know British values, this is really important to us. I don’t want my son radicalised when he grows up”.
Getting parents engaged in school life is a critically important first step. Parents are instantly more comfortable at school; they feel valued, have the chance to speak informally with teachers, and get to see their children in the school environment. Once the hurdle of inclusion is overcome, Eden has an armoury of solutions to overcome the practical problems many disadvantaged children face. She runs English classes, parent and children homework clubs, coffee mornings and parenting courses. Eden helps children and families to adopt positive routines and has a whole host of strategies to help children get to school on time every day, from stickers to morning phone calls. Ultimately, she has genuine, trusting relationships with the children and parents who need her support. From here everything is possible.
Darren Gutteridge, Head Teacher: “Eden is vital to our school. Her work means we get parents involved in school life – without this intervention, we simply wouldn’t get the parental engagement we need for our children to succeed.”
Head of CSR, at a leading asset management company:“Attending SHS’s event gave me with the chance to talk directly to a key worker and to some of the parents she is engaged with. The visit reinforced the scale of the task, the importance of the work being done and the impact SHS interventions can have.”
There’s nothing quite like seeing it for yourself. Book onto the next SHS ‘See the Impact’ session on Tuesday 20 June to see and feel the difference we make. Contact Emma Mortoo on 020 7426 5009 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.