parental rights and involvement
Note: all reference to parents here includes carers too.
Many parents are happy to have the peace of mind that good quality out of school and holiday care provides for their children and, as long as their child is happy, do not want much more involvement than a quick chat when picking up their children, or the longer meeting for the six monthly children's plan update, required by the service. This is fine, however, services are obliged to ensure that parental views, opinion and participation at some level with the service are encouraged, and it is good practice for even a busy parent, to keep up to date with information on the service's plans, inspection grading, changes to contracts, premises, costs and staff; all of which could impact on them and their children.
Many parents are also not that aware of the fact that over half of stand-alone (i.e. not combined with under five care) out of school care services are actually managed by voluntary committees; usually made up of parents who use, or used to use the service. Since out of school care is not a statutory right in Scotland, and is never directly managed by schools even if located the school premises, sometimes it is a surprise for parents to find out the service they rely on depends on the behind the scene work of other parent users of the service.
Parents should ask questions abouthow the service:
- Promote parental participation; is there a committee of parents or a parent's group? How does a parent join either or both?
- Inform parents about how they can become involved
- Ensure parents can participate in decisions concerning them and the service
- Listen to and act on parental views, concerns, ideas and specific needs
- Tell parents what is happening in respect of any changes and in responding to issues that they raise
- Make sure that parents or carers from a diversity of ethnic background and language use in the community served are included, as well as parents with disabilities or other additional support needs are included.
Responsibilities: With rights, come responsibilities, therefore, the service will ask, in return, from children and parents that:
- They respect the codes of conduct, contractual agreements, timely information requirements and all child protection processes of the service
- They respect the rights of other children, parents, staff and volunteers in the service
- Parents understand that the service has to operate within a legal, financial and equality framework, which determines the boundaries of their operational and policy decisions