Families and schools and communitywork together as partners in the education of children and young people.
The Family-School & Community Partnerships Bureau is an organisation dedicated to greater parental engagement and community involvement in schools. It conducts research, disseminates best practice and provides practical support and advice to parents, principals, teachers and others about how to build and sustain partnerships.
The Bureau, which has been funded by the Australian government, was created, and is governed, by the two peak parent bodies from both government and non-government school sectors – the Australian Council of State School Organisations [ACCSO], and the Australian Parents Council [APC]. Both Councils have long been involved with, and have frequently collaborated in, the promotion of parent and community engagement with schools.
A notable early initiative of these two peak bodies called the Family-School Partnerships Project began in 2004. Expressions of interest were sought from schools keen to do something special around engagement with parents and families, and 61 schools were selected and given a modest grant – $10,000 – to support their partnership endeavours.
The Family-School Partnerships Project was linked to a National Family-School Partnerships Framework that had been developed at a national gathering of educators and parents and was subsequently endorsed by all Education Ministers.
The Partnerships Project – and the $10,000 grant – was structured to assist schools to refine and clarify their initial partnership proposal. Schools were helped to put their ideas into practice, and their efforts were monitored by researchers whose task was two fold. Firstly, they gathered evidence about what worked and what didn't. Secondly, they assessed how well the principles of the National Framework, and the various dimensions of partnership that the Framework proclaimed, were actually realised through or reflected in the partnerships that each of the schools developed.
The experiences of the pilot schools during 2004-05 were recorded and analysed in a study conducted by Dr Denis Muller. The study also provided an opportunity to test the relevance of, and efficacy of the principles of, the National Framework. That work has been a valuable foundation for the Bureau to build on.
The Bureau’s work is overseen by a small group comprising
Mr Phillip Spratt, President, ACSSO
Ms Judith Bundy, ACSSO
Ms Shelley Hill, President, APC
Charuni Weerasooriya, APC
The Governance Committee sets the broad directions for the Bureau, receives regular progress reports from it, and monitors the Bureau’s operations and expenditure.
Australian Council of State School Organisations
The Australian Council of State School Organisations [ACSSO] is the peak national organisation representing the interests of the parents, families and school communities of children attending government schools throughout Australia.
ACSSO’s formal structure currently comprises ten government school organisations and their membership networks in all States and Territories.
Australian Parents Council
The Australian Parents Council [APC] is the federation of organisations representing parents of non-government school students in Australia since 1962. The APC is represented by State affiliates in most States of Australia.
The Family-School & Community Partnerships Bureau is grateful for the support provided by the Australian government through funding from the Department of Education.