Article Details

Article Details

PanTayside: Partnerships with parents

Author: Joy Christie, Inverbrothock Primary

Inverbrothock Primary in Arbroath, Angus, has been working hard to extend its open door policy to parents and carers.

Last year, we started sharing our learning during class assemblies, when we invited parents and carers to come and watch, and these have been very well attended.

I am a Principal Teacher and last year shared a P2 class, teaching two days a week. I had recently moved from a seconded post as ESO 1+2 PanTayside and I was determined to share the strong messages about the importance of language learning, how it enriches the lives of children, develops their confidence and helps them with their own mother tongue. In order to do this we made a leaflet for parents explaining how they could help their children alongside useful French vocabulary and we shared an assembly with parents around the idea that ‘English is not enough’. We received a strong positive response. It was during this feedback that I was made aware that parents themselves felt the need to upskill their own French in order to help their children at home.

This feedback helped initiate the idea of a beginner’s French club for adults. One of our new staff members, an ASN teacher, was keen to help me with this as she herself had lived in France and, like me, was passionate about the idea. We sent out letters to see how much interest there was and 15 people responded. This was also opened up to staff members. The final number totalled 8, including a P5 teacher and a very enthusiastic PSA.

The club has run every Thursday evening from 5-6pm for seven weeks and has been a huge success. Our classes had the added bonus of occasional visits from a native French speaker, ESO 1+2 PanTayside, Virginie Bradbury-Bedu, and the group all said how helpful it was to hear her speak.

Comments from the group include:

‘I am now able to use French when asking the children for their dinner choices every day, and also greeting them first thing in the morning. I really enjoyed the pace of learning.’ (Pauline Milne, PSA)

‘It has been very enjoyable and I find it correlates well with what my children are learning. It has been very good having a native French speaker, which gives the classes authenticity!’ (Joe Jennings, parent)

‘My child in P2 knew more than me already, and I did French at secondary school! I was amazed at how well we followed instructions in French even though we didn’t understand all of it.’ (Leeanne McCormack, parent)

‘I would like to do more lessons and for longer!’ (Pete Ansell, parent)

‘I would come back for more or attend exactly the same class again next year to keep improving my knowledge and confidence. Merci de m’enseigner le français (I met a Frenchwoman at the weekend on a train who helped me say this!)’ (Zoe Caird, parent)

‘Excellent job ladies. I have learnt a lot of new things. Thank you!’ (Tanya Ross, parent)

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