The Home, School, Community Liaison Scheme, HSCL), was established in 1990 in Ireland. In Riversdale Community College we were involved from pilot project stage. The first teacher in Riversdale to take on the role of Coordinator was Mary Heffernan, in 1996 Austin Fennessy took on the role, and was followed by Colette Colgan in 2001. The current HSCL Coordinator is Cathal McDaniel who was appointed in September 2014. We have always worked closely with our Family of Co-ordinators in Ladyswell National School and St. Patricks Senior and Junior Schools.
The Home, School, Community Liaison Scheme is a preventative strategy which is targeted at pupils who are at risk of not reaching their potential in the education system because of background characteristics which tend to affect adversely pupil attainment and school retention. The scheme is concerned with establishing partnership and collaboration between parents and teachers in the interests of the children’s learning. It focuses directly on the salient adults in children’s educational lives and seeks indirect benefits for the children themselves.
The aims of the liaison scheme are:-
- To maximise active participation of the children in the scheme schools in the learning process, in particular those who might be at risk of failure
- To promote active cooperation between home, school and relevant community agencies in promoting the educational interests of the children
- To raise awareness in parents of their own capacities to enhance their children’s educational progress and to assist them in developing relevant skills
- To enhance the children’s uptake from education, their retention in the educational system, their continuation to post-compulsory education and to third level and their attitudes to life-long learning and
- To disseminate the positive outcomes of the scheme throughout the school system generally.
The Home, School, Community Scheme is based on the principle of partnership between homes, schools and communities. This partnership is characterised as “a working relationship that is characterised by a shared sense of purpose, mutual respect and the willingness to negotiate. This implies a sharing of information, responsibility, skills, decision-making and accountability”. (Pugh,1989).
Structure of the Scheme
- The basic unit of the scheme is at local schools level where a full-time coordinator serves the liaison needs of one school or a number of schools in no more than two catchment areas.
- “Family clusters” of coordinators in primary and post-primary catchment areas serve the families which have children from pre-school years to leaving certificate level,
- Coordinators in an area form clusters and meet regularly for mutual support and development,
At both Primary and post-primary schools in the scheme applications are sought from fully qualified permanent teachers on staff of the school with the appropriate profile.
While the primary purpose of the scheme is the promotion of partnership in the children’s learning, parents frequently identify developmental needs which are not directly concerned with their children’s education. Meeting those identified needs is a critical factor in the development of parents’ awareness of their capacities in this area and in the development of their self-confidence. Scheme developments and activities which support parental development include:-
- Home visitation with the objective of establishing bonds of trust with parents and families and supporting parents in the identification of their support and developmental needs.
- Development of drop-in centres and parents rooms in schools.
- Courses and classes on:-
- curriculum areas so that parents could assist and support their children with their school work,
- personal development courses such as parenting courses, assertiveness courses etc,
- leisure activities,
- educational courses which range from basic literacy to certificate examination subjects and diploma courses.
- training parents as home visitors, facilitators of courses, classroom aides etc.
Development for teachers in the liaison scheme is in the area of developing partnership and collaboration with parents in the interests of the childrens education.
This development includes:-
(a) The promotion and establishment of a continuity in the children’s transfer from home to school
(b) An understanding of partnership in the context of the parents’ role as the primary educators of their children and
(c) The development of attitudes and behaviours regarding the complementarity of parents’ and teachers’ skills, knowledge and experiences in the enhancement of children’s learning.
Department of Education.
Home School Community Liaison Coordinator,
Riversdale Community College,
Blanchardstown Road North,
email : firstname.lastname@example.org
086 7769808 or (01)8201488 ext 208.
Parents Room, beside Room 29.