Welcome to Parentkind NI - here you'll find information on how we support those in a parenting role in Northern Ireland. Meet the team, find out how you can get involved in having a voice in your children's education and much more.
What's the latest education news in Northern Ireland?
Parentkind's Blueprint for Parent-Friendly Schools in Northern Ireland
On October 12th at our next All-Party Group meeting we will be formally launching our Blueprint for Parent-Friendly Schools Northern Ireland companion document. We will be joined by Celia O’Hagan, Senior Lecturer at Stranmillis University College and Sara Gowan, an MTeach student who will be focussing her studies on community and parent engagement. Parentkind have funded Sara and look forward to working with her as she puts the Blueprint through the test as part of her studies and research.
All-Party Group: Parental Participation in Education
Parentkind in NI are delighted to act as secretariat to the All Party Group – Parental Participation in Education. This is chaired by Chris Lyttle MLA and the Vice Chair is Nicola Brogan MLA. For this academic year (2021-2022) we will be focusing on the Parentkind Blueprint for Parent-Friendly Schools (see here for the Northern Ireland companion document), parents’ mental health and if there is time before the next election, we will revisit RSE (Relationships and Sexuality Education). If you wish to be part of the APG meetings, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or look at the Northern Ireland Assembly website, where details of the group can be found.
Currently, we are planning to respond to the Integrated Education Bill and would be pleased to hear any comments that you might have on it, or regarding Integrated Education.
We are pleased that part of our feedback on the Gambling Legislation consultation 2020 and further evidence to politicians this year has been taken on-board, and Minister Hargey has introduced relaxations around online fundraising, but lots more needs done. We hope the Department of Communities acts soon upon all the consultation feedback on our outdated gambling legislation to bring it into line with GB regulations.
For more information on our latest consultation responses, click here.
Parentkind in NI use multiple platforms to undertake research with parents – short polls, online surveys, NI Parents’ Parliaments and more. Recently Parentkind published the NI Parents’ Parliament report and have commenced work planning out the next phase of these.
On 28th April 2021, Parentkind NI and CREU Stranmillis University College both presented the findings from their parent survey on their experience home-schooling during disruption to schooling. Parent and child mental health were items for discussion during this session.
Championing Parent Voice
Parentkind have been worked in close partnership over the last year with a number of Arms Length Bodies and organisations to champion and give parents a voice. These included seven parent panels that were organised to engage with the Education Authority to discuss the Area Planning proposals for Provision for SEN Units in Mainstream schools. Parentkind would like to thank the range of organisations and individuals that supported this extensive piece of work and to read directly about one of the groups that took part in this consultation, click here.
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, we consulted parents across Northern Ireland (as well as England and Wales) about their thoughts on the impacts of school closures. Those in a parenting role in Northern Ireland were the most concerned on this topic, and told us how they were concerned for their children's and their own mental health. As a result, Parentkind took this concerns to two experts in the field - Bronagh Starrs, Adolescent Psychotherapist and Nichola Greene, Service Manager at Parentline NI. You can see their answers in a video, here.
A large number of parents took part in other panels with DE and CCEA to discuss everything from the Careers 14-19 project, exam proposals for Summers 2021 and 2022, Appeals and so much more. Parentkind would like to extend sincerest thanks to the Department of Education for seeking to ensure that parents have their say at the table on all these important topics and then following through on producing easy-read guidance documentation and some extra pieces for Parentkind.
The Head of Northern Ireland, Jayne Thompson, sits on many groups and platforms, ensuring parents and PTAs voices are heard and understood. These include:
- SEN Programme Reference Group
- Charity Commission NI Stakeholder Forum
Who are we?
Jayne Thompson, Head of Northern Ireland, 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.
How can I get involved?
- Connect with other parents - share your stories, worries and ideas, reading our blogs, have a look at our Facebook page and Twitter feed
- Sign up for our Parent eBulletin
- We love to celebrate success in schools and PTAs across Northern Ireland. If you have a success story that you'd like to share with others, please do get in touch. Perhaps your PTA has applied for some funding, used Parentkind guidance to register as a charity or been to one of our webinars?