In France, the ‘Parent’s Toolkit’ (mallette des parents) provides examples of how to increase parental participation in school life. The toolkit contains tools for educational teams to organise and facilitate discussions with parents.
Pilot launched in 2008 and generalised in 2010. New edition foreseen in 2015-16.
Parents of students in primary and lower secondary education.
Guidance on how to identify and monitor early school leavers or those at risk of early school leaving.
The Parents toolkit has two main objectives: increase parents’ participation in supporting their children, and improving their ability to support their children and make appropriate study choices.
The tool facilitates dialogue with parents and aims to help them understand the challenges related to their children’s education. A set of tools is also available for educational teams, to organise and facilitate discussions with the students’ parents.
The toolkit contains a set of tools to foster close relationships between schools and families. The toolkit is based on the principle of shared responsibility: both parents and schools are responsible for the children’s education and they must work together to create positive outcomes for children.
There are 3 toolkits corresponding to 3 key moments of the children's schooling:
- first year of primary school, when students learn to read (Primary toolkit)
- first year of secondary school, to support the students’ transition to a new school (Secondary entry toolkit)
- The last year of lower secondary school, to discuss future educational choices (Lower secondary leavers toolkit)
The primary toolkit focuses on ‘learning to read’: Teachers invite parents to come to the school to attend a reading session and then discuss how they can help their children at home. The toolkit contains methodological fiches, a DVD and pictures to support the debates.
3 questions can be discussed with parents:
- How do we learn to read and how can parents support their children in learning to read?
- How can parents help their child to learn?
- How can parents help their children to be comfortable in school and behave well?
The Secondary entry toolkit is centred on supporting parents to understand the school’s structure and system. It explains the organisation of the school in order to help parents understand it better, and provides methods and support to enable them to think about and discuss how they can help their children succeed. Educational tools in the toolkit allow educational teams to prepare and organise the discussions. The toolkit contains a DVD and methodological fiches.
The discussions focus on 3 main themes:
- How can I help my child?
- How do I understand where my child stands?
- A final assessment
The Lower secondary leavers toolkit concentrates on informing parents about the choices available to their children for upper secondary education, in order for them to better guide their children’s choices. As understood, this toolkit exists in different forms and content may vary depending on the region in which it is implemented/experimented. It seems that, at the moment, it is only being experimented in the Académie de Versailles.
There is no direct access to the toolkit.
In terms of efficiency, findings of the programme evaluation show that the Parents toolkit allows for much stronger involvement of parents in their children's schooling. This has resulted in a significant drop in absenteeism, fewer discipline problems and improvements in terms of educational outcomes, in courses such as French. These positive effects are noticeable, not only in relation to families typically receptive to information coming from the college, but also families less familiar or responsive to traditional school communication methods/policies.
It’s an initiative of the Ministry of Education. Each regional educational authority (académie) has different toolkits experimentations.