What is PEAS?
Daniel Cooper, the Deputy Head Teacher of Richmond Park School in Carmarthen, Wales has conceived and implemented an innovative and highly successful programme called “PEAS” – or to give it its full name – Parents Engaged Actively in School. It was designed specifically to increase parental engagement.
Daniel explains, “We wanted parents to be more of an integral part of the school, and we created a list of activities for ways of engaging them and breaking down the barriers between home and school. The aim is to work closely alongside mums and dads to provide them with skills to prepare their children for school and life success: if we can influence parents then they can improve things at home.”
Daniel told us a bit about what PEAS involves. “We have run a range of activities, from academic subjects to workshops run by teachers. We’ve involved external specialists including police officers and oral hygienists. A lot of activities are fun: we had a staff versus parents’ dodgeball competition as well as Indian Head Massages giving mums and dads a chance to relax. We do Family Friday every week. We change the focus so it could be academic or non-academic. Last week it was making Father’s Day cards. We had about forty mums in, working with the children. They were painting each others feet and hands.”
What have been the most obvious positive results? “School attendance is at 95.5%, and that has progressively increased over the last few years. Children’s reading ages have improved. We did something called ERIC, which stands for Everyone Reading in Class. There would be a teacher or teaching assistant on hand to help parents and give them advice on how to help their child with reading skills. Parents’ attendance at Parents’ Evenings has gone from 43% to 93% as we’ve built trust. The perception of the school has changed a lot and parents recommend us to other parents.”
PTA-member Lorna Hosken-Thomas has witnessed the success of PEAS at first hand. “We have far more engagement with parents,” she told us. “They are really keen to get involved at the grassroots level. The children like to know that their mums and dads are helping out too, so it brings everybody together. Daniel has worked extremely hard; it’s all credit to him.”