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Q And A - information programme for parents

Questions and Answers - Announcement of information programme for parents

Thursday, 3 February, 2005

Q1. Why is an information programme for parents being introduced? The primary purpose of the programme is to encourage, support and empower parents to support their children’s learning. Research is clear that in addition to the role that teachers have, the family and community environment has a significant impact on the educational achievement of children .

The quality of interactions that parents and caregivers have with children, a positive and nurturing home environment and the knowledge that parents have about how to support their children’s learning, can all affect children’s achievement. Families that encourage children to do their best, are involved in their children’s schools and classrooms either formally through parent-teacher interviews or informally, who monitor their children’s progress and have access to educational resources are more likely to have children who are successful learners.

Information is a key mechanism to support family and community involvement and experience from existing government information programmes, for example the Te Mana campaign, shows information provision can alter attitudes and involvement , particularly when supported by one-to-one contact.

This programme aims to give parents more information and resources to support their involvement in their children’s learning and to help them understand the education system so that they have confidence to talk to teachers and ask the right questions. It will also help parents and the community to understand the changes happening in early childhood and schools, and the growing information that is available about student achievement, for example how to interpret NCEA results.

Q2. What will the information programme look like? The proposed programme, will include the following elements, while supporting and underpinning existing investment in information and initiatives for parents: Mainstream advertising to communicate with parents and communities about the information that is available. Print and web-based information and resources to help families and communities, particularly parents, get involved in their children’s learning.

Q3. When will the programme be launched and why? The information programme is expected to be launched in the last quarter of 2005, following a period of market research with different audiences (parents, teachers etc) to inform the details of the programme and to establish benchmark indicators against which the programme will be evaluated throughout its implementation.

Media activity is not expected to commence until the final quarter of 2005, and into 2006 (ongoing). Links will be made with relevant ongoing communications programmes, including the launch of information for parents on assessment, which shows how teachers find out what children know and can do, in order to tailor their teaching programmes. This information can also be fed back to parents so they can be involved in their children’s learning.

Q4. How much will the programme cost? Funding averages $3.18 million per year for the first five years, with ongoing funding of $3.91 million per annum.

Q5. Why have an education ambassador and what will their role be? Other government programmes have provided significant evidence of the effectiveness of role models in communicating with the community. These include the well-established Te Mana campaign, which is targeted primarily at Mâori audiences and has a focus on engaging individuals in learning.

The involvement of a high profile New Zealander as an education ambassador will help reach parents with the key information they will need to help their children learn. This could include inspiring audiences through advertising and connecting parents to information and resources, delivering education messages through print media, including school newsletters, and by making personal appearances at significant events to promote education.

However, note, these activities will be informed by the market research being undertaken in coming months. We are confident that our education ambassador will be an appropriate role model for parents and the community because he has huge mana in New Zealand, has personal attributes and values that align with the programme, and is an inspirational example of someone who contributes to his children’s learning and to the learning of others in his community.

ENDS

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