The critical role of parents in helping students achieve their learning potential has been recognised with the first formal agreement between the NSW Department of Education and the State’s P&C Federation.
The 10-year Partnership Agreement with the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW will support parents’ participation in their children’s education, ensure their voices are heard and valued, recognise the work of local P&C Associations, and strengthen engagement with school communities.
The agreement comes as the NSW P&C Federation on Sunday announced its new Board, with Sydney business consultant Yvonne Hilsz elected President.
The P&C Federation is the largest education volunteer group in NSW and represents the State’s 1,800 local school Parents & Citizen’s Associations, with 6,500 executive members and thousands more volunteer parents and carers.
Public school P&C associations across NSW have defied a national drop in volunteering, with the P&C’s peak body reporting a return to pre-COVID volunteer numbers.
The Partnership Agreement outlines how the Department will consult with the peak body for public school parents on strategic matters relating to the education of students in its 2,200 schools and support the effective engagement of parents and carers in the school community.
NSW Department of Education Secretary Murat Dizdar said research showed that parents’ engagement in their children’s education improved students’ wellbeing and academic success and promoted better relationships in the classroom and the school community.
“We know student learning is enriched by positive connections between schools, parents, carers and the community, and this formal agreement will build on those relationships for our students,” Mr Dizdar said.
“Parents are the first educators of their children and by supporting them to continue to be involved in their local public school we can maintain these benefits all the way through our students’ life at school.”
“The Partnership Agreement sets out the vision and intent of how we work together with parents and carers and provides a strong foundation for ongoing work between the department and the P&C Federation.”
P&C Federation President Yvonne Hilsz said the Partnership Agreement highlighted the important role of parents in the future direction of NSW public education.
“This agreement builds on our strong working relationship with the Department of Education. We welcome the formal acknowledgement of the important role of parents and carers in public education,” Ms Hilsz said.
“Building healthy and respectful relationships between schools and families is everyone’s responsibility.”
Extensive consultation was undertaken with the P&C Federation and member associations, school leaders and their staff, parents and carers, and other key stakeholders to develop the partnership agreement.
The department has committed to work with the P&C Federation on the development and implementation of educational policies and programs, with the shared goal of achieving the best outcomes for students.
As a first initiative under the agreement, the department is working with the P&C Federation to develop a practical guide to help schools work more effectively with local P&C associations.
Photo caption: NSW Department of Education Secretary Murat Dizdar with NSW P&C Federation president Yvonne Hilsz.