Registration now for Autumn 2019

For further information and to reserve your place* at our ‘Information and Assessment Event’ contact Emma.Foster@birmingham.gov.uk

*Please note, that we require a minimum of 8 parents to make our programme viable; less than this will result in the start date being deferred. 

The Parent Ambassador Programme supports the drive towards effective parental engagement in schools.  This unique role bridges the gap between home and school through engaging parent representatives from current school communities in a structured learning programme.  The programme aims to train and empower Parent Ambassadors with how to support other parents from within their local community, which in turn aims to lead to better outcomes for children.

“I love the course.  It has really made me and my Parent Ambassador reflect on systems and policies in school. She has really enjoyed the sessions.”  (School-based mentor, The Meadows Primary School)

Click the sliders below for more information about the Programme:

Course Overview
  • The programme is delivered by Pupil and School Support in partnership with Birmingham Adult Education Service, and includes partners such as the Police Service, Fire Service and local safeguarding bodies.
  • Parent Ambassadors have opportunity to gain one unit of a Level 2 Open College Network West Midlands qualification entitled: Becoming a Parent Ambassador.   
  • The course is delivered over a 11 week period, which includes an Information and Assessment event and a final presentation event. 
  • Each training session takes place on consecutive Monday mornings throughout the spring term. 
  • Each session will be 3 hours in length and start at 9:30am so that parents have time to drop their children to school if necessary. 
  • An initial written assessment must be completed to ensure candidates had the required level of written English to access the qualification criteria.
Information and Assessment Event for Parents and School-Based Mentors: Thursday 24th September 9:30 - 11am
  • The Parent Ambassador Information and Assessment event will take place at Vauxhall Gardens, Barrack Street, Birmingham, B7 4HA on Tuesday 24th September from 9:30  to approximately 11.00 am.
  • Both an allocated school-based mentor and parents must attend this event.
  • Parents will undertake an initial written assessment.  The outcome of this assessment will determine if they have met the required standard of written English and can enrol on the course.   
Training Venue and Dates
  • The training will start at Vauxhall Gardens, Barrack Street, Birmingham, B7 4HA; however please note that the venue may need to change during the course.  This will be confirmed as soon as possible.  Vauxhall Gardens is a 5 minutes’ walk from Duddeston train station and is situated on the number 14 bus route.  
  • Unless specified, each session will run from 9:30am until 12:30pm.   

The training dates (term time only) are as follows:

  • Session 1:  Monday 30th September– which will include enrolment with Birmingham Adult Education Service                   
  • Session 2:  Monday 7th October
  • Session 3:  Monday 14th October
  • Session 4:  Monday 21st October
  • Session 5:  Monday 4th November
  • Session 6: Monday 11th November
  • Session 7: Monday 18th November
  • Session 8:  Monday 25th November
  • Session 9:  Monday 2nd December
  • Session 10: Monday 9th December
Course Content

The Parent Ambassador will complete one unit from an Open College Network West Midlands qualification (level 2). 

This training aims to develop your Parent Ambassador’s understanding of: 
· The role of the Parent Ambassador and limitations of their role;
· The role and responsibilities of school staff and how Parent Ambassadors and school staff can work collaboratively to increase parental engagement;
· The policies and procedures relevant to the school;
· The types of information required by parents and school staff;
· The potential barriers to learning for adults and children;
· The values of the school and the importance of promoting British Values through education;
· The safeguarding requirements within a school.

Commitments from parents
  • This programme will help learners to gain new skills, reflect on their practice and further develop participants as parent ambassadors. 

All learners will be required to:

  • Complete an initial written assessment (15-20 minutes written statement outlining what they believe the role and duties of a Parent Ambassador are and what skills they feel they have to bring to the role and why they would like to become a Parent Ambassador.)  This is completed at the PA Information and Assessment session on Tuesday 24th September.   Examples of the required standard of written English are below.
  • Attend all of the nine taught sessions.
  • Complete homework tasks to build portfolio of evidence (the expectation is that parents will complete approximately 1-2 hours homework per week).   .
  • Complete a voluntary placement within their school setting whilst undertaking the training.
  • Commit to a further two terms of employment (either paid or voluntary) following the training.
  • As this course is accredited, there will be elements of research and on-going assessment. 
Commitment from school
  • Select and recruit a suitable parent or parents (there is currently no limit with regards to the number of parents we will train but remember to consider how much capacity you have in school to support them)
  • Allocate a suitable school-based mentor (to oversee and support the work of the PA)
  • Email Emma.Foster@birmingham.gov.uk to register interest by Friday 20th September
  • Mentors must attend the PA Information and Assessment event on Tuesday 24th September
  • Complete the necessary safeguarding checks required for the parent to complete voluntary work in schools (DBS)
  • Provide a placement and opportunities for parents to engage with other parents whilst the Parent Ambassador trains (10 weeks)
  • Provide a further two terms of voluntary or paid employment (approx. 3-5 hours per week recommended).  It is school’s choice whether the Parent Ambassadors are paid or volunteers.
  • Support the Parent Ambassador with achieving their accreditation (i.e. provide witness testimonies or if necessary, provide support with completion of their portfolio.  For example, one homework task is to bring in a sample of school policies—they may need their mentor to help them with this).
  • Promote their role within your school
  •  
Parent Ambassador Progression

On completion of this module, learners can continue with further study through Birmingham Adult Education Service.

Parent Ambassador Programme in Practice

Feedback from our previous Birmingham cohorts:

“We approached a parent helper, at the beginning of the Autumn term, to take part in the Parent Ambassador course because we could see the potential she had to make a difference to the children and parents in our school. 

She was very excited to take part in the PSS course, which she found really useful.  During this time she did voluntary work in school for 5 hours a week, supporting all parents but especially our non-English speaking parents at workshops, parent’s evening, coffee mornings and with homework.  She also made herself available every morning and afternoon in the playground enabling her to network with a range of our parents. At the end of the term we could not afford to lose her so we decided to employ her for the 5 hours a week.  She is now supporting the facilitation of Birmingham Adult Education English and Maths courses, in school, as well as all her other roles. 

Encouraging her to complete the course and make the role her own is starting to make a real difference in connecting with our hard to reach parents, which in turn can only help their children to thrive.  We have also seen her grow in the role with a new found confidence.”  Kate Wildman, Inclusion Leader at Birches Green Infants School

 

“Having a parent ambassador at our school has helped us build stronger relationships with our families and the local community. Parents have shared that they like having a someone who can bridge the gap between home and school when they are unsure of who to speak to and how to convey a message they may have.”   Deb Harvey, Inclusion Manager at Yardley Primary School.

 

 

The training:

“The course is excellent; I have learnt so much.” Paul, Parent Ambassador

“The content is very interesting and helping to improve practice. There is more homework than I thought previously however the tutor is fair and explains it very well.” Laura, Parent Ambassador

“I really enjoyed this course with other like-minded parents who are all here to try and make a difference in their school.” Lorraine, Parent Ambassador

Placements in schools:

“We have implemented drop-ins every Tuesday and Thursday.” Paul, Parent Ambassador

“The PA role is still yet undefined in our school.  We are working on what areas she will have most impact.  Once our new building is completed her role will be paramount in school.” (School-based mentor)

“Examples of the work I have done: introducing myself to school staff at a staff meeting; producing a questionnaire for parents to complete online and supporting parents at drop-in session.  I have also signposted parents to websites and local organisations.” Rachel, Parent Ambassador

Would you recommend this course?

“Yes I would.  Already we have introduced our PA to parents and they are keen to pass on concerns and worries to her.  She then feeds back in weekly meeting and we try to resolve or communicate a clearer response to the concerns.”  (SENCO)

 In Practice in Wolverhampton

The Parent Ambassador programme has been established at West Park Primary School in Wolverhampton for over 18 months.

“The work of the Parent Ambassadors has grown and grown.  It’s working better than I ever could have imagined.”  Briony Jones (Head teacher)

The Parent Ambassadors have been integral to shifting our mindset as a school towards improved parental engagement.  Their work is now fundamental to our aims and values.

They are flexible with their hours and support the school in so many ways; their role continues to grow and develop, as well as their own knowledge and skills.

We have even developed a person specification and job description to raise their status (these are available on the A2E website).

Now they are established, which didn’t take as long as we thought, I communicate with the Parent Ambassadors through email and informal conversations—we now only meet half termly.

We have trained two Parent Ambassadors who:

Organise and deliver training to parents including ESOL language and health classes

Provide weekly drop-in sessions

Led training for our teachers, who will now signpost our parents to them

Communicate key messages to parents

Meet and greet parents at the start and end of the day

Reduced SLTs workload by leading on events such as our Christmas Fayre

Lead training for our teachers, who will now signpost parents to our Parent Ambassadors

 “None of the concerns I initially had have happened.  There are no negatives. Only positives.”