How can I be involved?
When your child gets to secondary school it is still really important to have a good working relationship with their teachers.
Your child will get a better education if there is a strong connection between home and school. As a parent, you can provide that connection by being actively involved with the school, knowing the teachers, and talking with your child about what they're studying and learning.
- Keeping in touch with the teachers
- Staying involved with your child
- Other ways to be involved with the school
Make the most of opportunities to talk with your child's teachers.
- go to parent-teacher interviews
- if you have an important issue to discuss, make an appointment to see the home teacher or dean, so you can focus on the issue. It's not as easy in secondary school to pop in or phone like you can in a primary school
- ask the teachers about ways you can help your child's learning. Find out what the teachers expect for outcomes, activities and deadlines, so you can help support your child at home
- let the teacher know about any special interests or expertise you have that you could contribute.
Make it part of your day to talk to your child about school - what they're learning, what they find most interesting, what they struggle with.
Get involved with their homework. This doesn't mean doing it for them, or assessing or marking them. It will help your child if you agree on set times for doing homework, if you know what the teacher's expectations are, and if you talk about what they're doing and introduce new ideas and ways of approaching the work.
Also talk with your child about what subjects they choose. Some NCEA options require your child to take specific subjects as early as Years 9 and 10. If you need help choosing subject, see Choosing subjects and careers, or ask the school.
With the Ministry of Education’s support, New Zealand schools are set up to give the community a say in deciding how their school works. Here are some ways you can get involved with the school - but also talk to other parents and/or carers, the teachers and principal about ways to participate.
Know what’s going on
- get to know the teacher, so that you can talk about how your child is doing both at home and school
- go to parent-teacher interviews to get feedback
- read the school newsletters and go to school events
- know who’s on the board of trustees, find out about attending meetings, get your concerns on the agenda, and keep up to date with what the board are doing
Have your say
- have your say in any topics up for parent consultation
- complete any school surveys so that your views are taken into account
- get to know who is on your school’s board of trustees (they have regular meetings and must listen to what parents and/or carers want)
- make sure you vote in the three-yearly elections of the board of trustees
- be the voice for your child. Ask for the support and services you think your child needs at any time.
- you can volunteer at the school to help in the classroom, at events, with sports, or on school trips and camps
- share a talent or some knowledge you have. It can be anything – sports, culture, cooking, crafts, language
- find out if the school has a parent group or Parent Teacher Association (PTA) you can join
- If there isn't a parent and/or carer, or home and school group at your school, you could talk with other parents and/or carers and set one up yourself. The New Zealand Parent Teacher Association (NZPTA) aims to build closer relationships between parents and/or carers, teachers, homes and schools so they can work together effectively to support students. The NZPTA has information about setting up a group. Contact NZPTA.
Think about standing for election on your school's board of trustees
All state and state-integrated schools are governed by a board of trustees. Standing for election on your school's board of trustees is a great way to share to be involved in your child's education, share your skills with the school, have your say in the running of the school.
You could consider attending a board meeting to see how they work, and if you are interested you could stand for election at the next trustees election.
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