Parents and Schools – Working Together

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Catholic schools work with you in educating your child. The partnership between you and the school, especially your child’s teachers, is crucial to ensuring that your child has the best opportunities to enjoy the school experience and learn effectively.

As a parent/carer/guardian, you can contribute your own knowledge and skills at all levels to assist your child’s learning, support the school’s goals and promote the principles of Catholic education.

There are many ways in which parents/carers/guardians and schools can work together to improve the educational experience and outcomes for their children. You can help your child in many areas of school life, as suggested in the list below.

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 (Congregation for Catholic Education 1997).
What you can do to help your child at school
Faith development

Attend school and parish liturgies and Masses, sacramental education and faith development evenings.

Participate in and discuss religious education learning activities and social justice initiatives.
Encourage respectful conversations about faith, beliefs and values.
Build a partnership with the school and teachers to support your child’s faith and learning.

Encourage your child to take increasing responsibility for their learning and organisational skills.

Talk to your child about their learning and progress, using the language you know best. In conversations with your child, encourage respectful listening and sharing of opinions, beliefs and feelings.
Establish regular contact with your child’s teachers to discuss their learning and progress, and share knowledge of your child and how they are experiencing their learning.
Encourage reading by setting an example – reading yourself.
Read texts (e.g. novels, plays) set by your child’s teachers.
Discuss your child’s response to the texts and ask to see work they complete on these texts.
Regularly review your child’s learning program, assessment requirements and assessment reports where these are available online via the school’s intranet.

Encourage a balanced diet, sufficient sleep and regular physical activity.

Encourage positive attitudes, values and behaviours such as courtesy, confidence, persistence and ‘doing your best’.
Celebrate your child’s efforts, resilience and successes.
Help your child balance the amount of time spent on school work and in recreational pursuits.
Encourage self-management, independence and resilience. Talk to your child’s teacher about how you can support the school’s focus on these important life skills.
Encourage help-seeking behaviours in your child.
School activities

Encourage your child to participate in the school’s co-curricular program.

Attend school events and co-curricular programs in which your child is involved.
Become involved in school community activities through the school board, parent groups and parent education programs.
School attendance

Regular attendance at school is vital if students are to obtain maximum benefit from the educational and social opportunities that the school can offer. Young people who attend school regularly and complete Year 12 or its equivalent have better health outcomes and access to a much wider range of post-school education, training and employment opportunities.

As a parent/carer/guardian, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the school’s attendance requirements and procedures, which in most instances are provided at the time of enrolment and published on the school’s website. You are responsible for ensuring that your child attends school every day, on time, and for explaining absences in a timely manner.

Schools must advise parents/carers/guardians of unexplained absences on the same day.

Your child’s homeroom teacher or year level coordinator is responsible for monitoring daily attendance and patterns of absences and lateness, while the principal is responsible for determining if any irregular attendance or sustained absence is reasonable. If there are concerns about a student’s record of attendance, the matter may be referred to a government Attendance Officer who has extensive powers of inquiry to investigate absences from school without a reasonable excuse.

In accordance with the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic.), schooling is compulsory for children and young people aged 6–17 years unless an exemption has been granted.

There may be occasions when your child is reluctant or refuses to attend school. Such occasions may increase in frequency and reflect a pattern of worrying behaviour. You are strongly encouraged to work in partnership with your child’s teachers to address factors which may be causing the problem and implement agreed strategies to promote attendance.

For further information and tips to improve your child’s attendance at school, see

Learning at home

Catholic schools usually advise parents/carers/guardians of homework expectations at the beginning of the school year. You can assist your child with their learning at home in a number of ways.

What you can do to help your child at home
Ask whether homework has been set and ensure your child keeps a homework diary.
Acknowledge your child’s success and ask how their learning and class work are progressing.
Help your child to plan and organise a time and space for completing work at home.
Encourage your child to engage in learning activities in the local and broader community.
Assist your child to complete work at home by discussing key questions and directing them to resources.
Discuss homework in your child’s first language (where English is not the main language spoken at home) and link it to their previous experience.
Work in partnership with the school and teachers.
Your child's progress

Communication between you and the school about your child’s progress is important and enables you to:

  • assist with your child’s progress
  • see examples of work
  • develop a relationship with your child’s teachers.

There are formal and informal occasions for this, both face-to-face and in writing.

Career options

Parents/carers/guardians play a vital role in guiding and advising students about career options. As parents/carers/guardians, you are aware of your child’s particular interests and abilities. This knowledge helps when choices are considered for post-school education, training and employment options. However, it is the young person’s ongoing life choices that are the key.

Each individual needs to be encouraged to accept this responsibility as part of their maturing. Happily, and with sound support from home and school, this is a common outcome.

Contact information

It is important that you keep the school up to date with your contact telephone numbers and those of an emergency contact. In cases of emergency or ill health, the school will immediately contact you so you can collect your child or approve the appropriate medical attention. It is also important that the school is kept up to date about any changes to your child’s medical or healthcare needs.

Annual school reports

Every Melbourne Catholic school provides an annual school report on its activities to parents/carers/guardians and the wider community.

This report gives parents/carers/guardians a clearer idea of the nature and outcomes of each school. The report includes important information such as enrolment and financial data, student attendance, the range of activities provided, overall performance of students (e.g. NAPLAN, VCE, VCE VM and VPC), results of parent and student surveys, and teacher qualifications.

The annual school report is normally found on the school’s website, as well as on the State Register. Similar information about every school in Australia may also be found on the My School website.

For the State Register, see

For My School, see

School/college boards

College boards are established in most Catholic colleges, and bring together priests, members of religious orders, principals, and parents and friends in a spirit of collaboration to realise the college’s vision and achieve its educational aims. The boards are established under various governance models and differ in responsibility and function, from advisory boards to incorporated boards or boards of management. Membership is defined in the board constitution.

Procedures and processes for parent representation on college boards are available through the principal’s office.

Parents and friends associations

Most schools have a parents’ association, often called the Parents and Friends Association or Parents Auxiliary, which offers an opportunity for parents/carers/guardians to gather and become involved in the life of the school. These groups take many forms and provide support for the school in areas such as:

  • social functions
  • maintenance of grounds, buildings and equipment
  • fundraising for particular needs in the school
  • voluntary support for educational programs.

Parent groups can also assist in fostering the intellectual, cultural, social and spiritual interests of their members, and provide opportunities for the development of community spirit among staff and parents/carers/guardians.

In schools … families have a most important place and role. Catholic schools appreciate their value, and promote their participation in the school, where they can assume various forms of co-responsibility
(Congregation for Catholic Education 2013).
Parent support

Catholic schools and MACS are committed to developing and maintaining opportunities for parent/carer/guardian and community participation in the education of their children.

Catholic School Parents Victoria (CSPV)

Catholic School Parents Victoria (CSPV) was established in October 2005. Its role is to:

  • provide a forum to represent parent perspective in Victorian Catholic schools
  • promote parents as partners in education with the school, the Church and the community
  • promote the principles of Catholic education in collaboration with the diocesan bishops and directors
  • promote Catholic schools as schools of first choice for Catholic families.

CSPV provides an avenue for parents/carers/guardians to participate at diocesan, state and national levels, advocates for Catholic school communities and education in the Catholic tradition, and represents parents/carers/guardians of students in Catholic schools through their school boards or parent groups. CSPV aims to have up to two representatives from each diocese who endeavour to ensure that all Catholic school parents/carers/guardians are informed about system and state issues.

For more information, see