Below are examples of schools who have been successful in getting additional funds to support family engagement projects and their experiences of the process.
Knightswood Primary School is an excellent example of a school that has formed partnerships with its local community to take a project forward.
The school organised a six-week block of 'healthy living' sessions on Saturday mornings during the winter term, targeting children and families at risk of missing out. Lynne Alldrit, owner of the Beech Tree Inn in Killearn agreed to provide coaching for the group focusing, in particular, on food preparation, cooking and healthy family eating. She brought a local chef with her and received sponsorship from local suppliers to fund ingredients and equipment, as well as support from the local branch of Marks and Spencers which provided vouchers for bread and milk. AMEY gave its support with free let, Cordia provided staff for three hours, and senior managers at the school organised and managed the staff and rotas etc.
Parents were also invited to eat with the children and share recipes, and additional activities such as martial arts and dance were offered, paid for by the school.
Linnvale Primary School, in Clydebank, has 48% free school meal entitlement. It identified the need to engage parents more in the life of the school. It also had an unimaginative play area, which needed to be more fun and welcoming. An additional objective was to create pride in the school and its play area.
Linnvale formed a partnership with a local community arts group, which had secured funding from the Big Lottery, and Community Learning and Development, which had secured funding to support family learning. Together they developed a project to create a mural in the play area demonstrating Clydebank’s heritage.
The project was completed, although slower than planned. It did secure the interests of parents and initially the objectives of the work being led by parents, were met. However, tensions within the parental group and their relative inexperience as working in a team led to several withdrawing. One parent who had been unemployed went on to become a volunteer with the local arts group.
Ibrox School, in Glasgow has 46% free school meal entitlement. It took advantage of the Big Lottery Commonwealth Games Legacy Fund to apply to extend its Friday afternoon games programme. The school successfully applied for funding to increase the number and range of activities it offered children in sporting venues - activities they otherwise could not afford. Transport was also provided.
The application took longer than expected to proceed because of the specific detail required for funding each weekly activity. Approval was received at the start of the term when the funding was due to begin. This meant a huge amount of organisational work was required to get the programme up and running in two weeks. Having the detailed activity and funding plan alongside the application (even if the application does not ask for this) is likely to be handy. Having support on hand to be ready to get underway, such as getting the parental support forms issued, is likely to save time and stress!