In recent years, Giffnock Primary School has been developing platforms for pupil and parent/carer voices to drive forward the things that matter the most.
The Parent Equalities Group emerged from the East Renfrewshire Equality Champions initiative. Giffnock Primary prides itself on its family friendly focus and community ethos and there was a lot of interest when this opportunity was shared with parents and carers.
Cost of the School Day was one of the first pieces of work for the group. Members say that it was important that parents and carers were able to take the lead in this area:
“Parents are the ones who know what they’re shelling out every day. The school is brilliant and on board and have backed and supported us but if it’s directly affecting parents then you need parents involved. We’re the end users aren’t we, so we need to be driving or at least have a strong mouthpiece to give our opinions.”
Kirsty Rawley, Depute Head Teacher, says that the success of the group is down to the families involved making everyone feel valued, welcome and heard:
“The equalities group covers a range of passions from ensuring cultural appreciation and diversity in our community, discussing school policy and inclusive approaches for all learners, equity and gender and, of course, Cost of the School Day. The group has grown in strength and numbers, developing friendships and family connections across the whole school, it has been humbling to witness the strength of kindness and determination that this network has created.”
Covid showed that “situations can change dramatically very quickly” and the school knew that it was crucial to respond to circumstances that families may have been facing for the first time. Kirsty says that consultation with the school community has been important for strategic planning but that, alongside this, it is day to day interactions and support that makes their school a connected community, one “based on respect, understanding and hope, for all of our families.”