Welcome to Parentkind NI. This page aims to give you a flavour of the work of Parentkind NI and an insight into how it supports education beyond the school gate.
We know how much you value hearing about what other PTAs are up to and therefore we are seeking to build our bank of Success Stories, so if you want to share a recent fundraising or parent volunteering achievement, or tell us about how you actively engage parents, please get in touch.
The structure of education in NI
Northern Ireland has quite a complex education system, with a number of bodies involved in its management and administration. Ultimately, the Department of Education NI, who are accountable to the NI Assembly, has overall responsibility for the education of our young people. Sitting directly underneath and accountable to the Department, are a number of arm’s length bodies who provide direct support to our schools. There are five education sectors in NI:
- Catholic Maintained
- Voluntary non-maintained
- Grant-maintained Integrated
- ‘Other’ Maintained (mostly Irish Medium)
In addition there are five sectoral bodies:
The Sectoral Support Bodies provide guidance and advice to the schools in their sector and also act as representatives.
Jayne Thompson, Parentkind NI Programmes Manager, works closely with many of the bodies listed above and the Assembly’s Education Committee as well to which Jayne is a regular visitor.
Parentkind NI believe that in order to improve educational outcomes for all children, parents must be involved in a proactive manner with their school and become partners in education. This has led to Jayne championing the role of parents with the Education Committee, Department for Education and other educational stakeholders for a number of years and it is hoped that when the new Assembly reconvenes, Parentkind NI will be in a position to share some new exciting news on this front. In the meanwhile, Jayne continues to seek ways to raise the profile of parents and explore opportunities to help schools engage with parents in a more meaningful manner.
Parentkind NI Members
Jayne has been diligent in her support to PTAs in the province over the last ten years and never failed to be amazed by the brilliant work and fundraising results reported by her many members.
Charity registration she recognises has been a challenge for many PTAs in recent times but again, wishing to offer that ‘goldstar’ support to her members, along with colleagues she worked with the Charity Commission for NI until a whole suite of resources were developed that would ensure PTAs a smooth and painless registration process.
Parentkind NI has also worked with the Charities Commission on a major review, meeting with Senior Civil Servants at the Department for Communities NI to share concerns PTAs and Schools have with the process and make recommendations for the future.
As one of the NI Helper Groups for the Charity Commission NI, Jayne continues to work closely with the Commission, keeping abreast of changes to their systems and making recommendations for resources/templates to assist with management of charities.
Please note, it is not the role of Parentkind NI to enforce the charities legislation but we are obliged to remind you that it is a legal requirement. We do not share PTA data with the Commission.
The ‘new’ news – Jayne is stepping away from membership support, not going off the NI scene at all, but instead taking up the baton at government and policy level to champion for greater support for parent participation in education, seek more opportunities for parent voice to be heard at local and national level and to also explore increased openings for engaging parents inside the school gate. However, members will now have more immediate access to support through our Member Support Team who can be contacted Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm on 0300 123 5460 or via email at email@example.com.
Jayne would like to offer sincerest thanks to each and every one of the PTAs who warmly welcomed her into their school over the last ten years and sought her guidance on how they could make their PTA operate even more effectively. She also adds her thanks for all the lovely recipes, cakes and buns she received over the years. Apparently she often forgets the name of the PTA Chair at a school but never forgets a home bake she received there in the past! Yvonne at Eden PS Ballymoney can testify this, as earlier this week, during their AGM she rang with a quick question and after the enquiry was answered, Jayne asked if they were serving their famous Wholewheat Chocolate Cake at the event!
Jayne Thompson, Programmes Manager for NI, is championing the role of parents and is keen to create pathways at all levels so that parents can become more actively engaged inside the school gate, not only supporting PTA activity, but also their children’s learning.
If you would like to share some excellent practice of parental partnership from your school, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will look to adding it to our case study section.