Project Horizon

Any parent knows the heart sinking dread when they receive the call that starts with “Your child is OK but…” usually followed by details of some playground or classroom incident. I had one such call the other day from my son’s childcare, only the minor incident had actually happened the day before. They were calling to apologise for not having told us on the day, and to give us the details of the incident. The centre’s policy is to ensure that parents are always kept in the loop regardless of how insignificant an issue may seem.

I much prefer this to the other end of the spectrum, which I’ve also experienced from a previous childcare who once only notified me that my 2 year old son had been sick all day when I collected him at 5pm. I was not amused.

So I can only imagine how the father of a Melbourne state school student felt when the only way he could get the school to give him access to the pastoral care notes on his son was to file a formal Freedom of Information request.

While there are of course exceptional circumstances under which information about a student may need to be kept from a parent, there is strong evidence from Government research that suggests that keeping parents and guardians informed and engaged is important to the outcomes of a student. John Hattie, Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, even goes so far as to suggest it has as much impact on a student’s success as factors such as school funding and class size.

For this reason, Project Horizon is building a community portal that is designed specifically to proactively keep caregivers in the loop. The portal will give parents access to up-to-date pastoral care notes, reports and any other key information related to their child, while giving a school full control over what information is released to each individual community member.

More to follow next week!

Tom BeardsworthEducation Horizons Group, Product Marketing Lead