Parentkind launched the first in a series of Parents' Parliaments on Wednesday 5th December 2018, at the Hamilton Road Community Hub in Bangor, Northern Ireland.
Parents, teachers, policymakers and education experts had the opportunity to debate a number of key education topics including the value of a consultative parent body in every school.
On the success of the inaugural event, Jayne Thompson, Northern Ireland Programme Manager at Parentkind, commented, "The event completely surpassed all my expectations! The richness of the feedback and ideas from parents was inspiring, and each had a very clear message – parents need and want to be more proactively involved in education at all levels, from being equipped with the tools to support their children’s learning at home, to contributing to policy and being consulted with the option for feedback: it shows that parents want to be partners in education."
There is plenty of opportunity for parents in Northern Ireland to get involved. We are running five Parents' Parliaments across the province, in partnership with the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA), The Graduate School at Queen’s University Belfast, and with the Department of Education Northern Ireland (DENI). The Bangor Parentkind Parents' Parliament will be followed by similar events in Magherafelt, Newry, Omagh and North Belfast next year and will culminate in a final event to be held in the Parliament Building, Belfast in 2019.
Summing up what the NI Parents' Parliament is all about, Jayne Thompson said:
"I am delighted to see the Parentkind Parents' Parliaments become a reality – it’s a real milestone in our efforts to get parents recognised as the major stakeholder in our children’s education. When schools and politicians actively seek parent views on our schools, curriculum and other issues that directly impact them, progress can be made and our children can be given the best chance of achieving their potential.
"By collaborating with CCEA, The Graduate School at Queen's University Belfast and DENI, we are confident that the results of these regional parliaments will not only recognise the value of parental engagement in education, but also highlight the practical steps educators can take to strengthen their home-school partnerships which can truly deliver for our children."
If you are a parent in Northern Ireland with a child at school, and you wish to take part in one of the forthcoming Parents' Parliament events, please see Northern Ireland Parents' Parliament for more information and to register your interest.