Parents as Partners

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Parents as Partners in Catholic Education

RationaleImage of a parent and child

Parents have a particularly important part to play in the educating community, since it is to them that primary and natural responsibility for their children’s education belongs.1 Catholic schools are called to assist parents in fulfilling their obligation for the Christian formation and education of their children. The Catholic school respects parents’ fundamental human right to know, understand and share in decisions that affect the education of their children. 2  

This policy provides a framework for effective partnerships with parents at the school and system levels. Parent participation in a diversity of roles affirms the important role of parents as partners with the Church through the school and with the broader community in supporting the learning and development of their children.

At the school level, partnerships formed between parents, parishes and, in some schools, with religious orders, enhance faith development as well as social and educational outcomes for children. Engagement with parents also allows schools to benefit from a broader resource and encourages community spirit and cohesion.

At the Catholic system level, parent partnerships create an environment of mutual respect, encourage timely and effective communication and enable participation in consultation on matters of parental concern.


Parents. Persons/people with parental responsibility, including legal guardians and carers.

Participation. Refers to the contribution which parents make to Catholic education.

Catholic System. All Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, parish priests, canonical administrators and religious orders, together with Catholic Education Melbourne.


Contribution. Parents have knowledge and skills which they can contribute at all levels, to assist their children’s learning, to support the school’s goals and to promote the principles of Catholic education.

Partnership. Effective partnerships for the education of children are based on a foundation of shared values and mutual respect between parents and all members of the Catholic system. These partnerships acknowledge the respective roles and responsibilities of each of the participants involved.

Whole-system Approach. Parent involvement and participation are valued and encouraged at all levels of Catholic education through the creation of an environment in which parents feel welcomed and are able to contribute as valued partners.

Strategies for working with parents as partners

Schools use a variety of strategies to create an environment in which parent participation is welcomed and where the role of parents in supporting the learning of their child is fostered. Appendix 1 establishes the general principles and examples of processes for involving parents in the life of the school.

Catholic Education Melbourne has a range of strategies for working with parents. These are outlined in Appendix 2 and include:

  • assistance to schools in developing effective home, school and community partnerships;
  • information to parents on services and programs in Catholic schools;
  • support for participation of parents in forums at school and system levels.



1 Congregation for Catholic Education 1997, The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, St Pauls Publications, Strathfield, NSW, no.20.

2 National Catholic Education Commission 2003, Walking His Way, Telling His Truth, Living His Life: Implications of Ecclesia in Oceania for Catholic Education, Canberra, Australia.