The role of family link workers is to encourage parents’ participation and interest in school life. Fiona Taylor shares her school’s experience in the benefits of developing this role

Headteacher Bernadette O’Brien describes the core themes of extended provision at Priory School and Sports College

Jenny Barton, lead learning mentor at Norham Community Technology College, shares her experience of developing and facilitating a support group for parents of teenagers

Headteacher David Dixon takes a close look at the philosophy behind elective home education, enshrined in a recent consultation document on guidelines to cover this parental option

Having found himself in a governors’ free-for-all on the subject of homework, Roger Smith describes that experience and shares his own thoughts and that of researchers on the subject

Providing an extended schools service with a community learning centre brought about unexpected synergies for Mitchell High School. Shaun Morgan describes the changes

Who are the parents who evade all forms of contact from schools and why do they choose to exist at the fringes of their child’s education? Jo McShane investigates

It can be daunting and isolating for children with few English language skills to start a new school. Education writer Dorothy Lepkowska reports on a new programme designed to help them achieve their potential

Anne Clarke, principal of Benton Park Technology College, shares her thoughts on the problems of engaging parents in secondary schools

Juliet Neil-Hall discusses the importantance of attachment and meeting the emotional needs of young children and their parents

Heads must know, but not exceed, their powers when it comes to decisions on school dress, says Richard Bird, former headteacher and now legal consultant of the Association of School and College leaders (ASCL)

Two recent policy reviews have established the government’s priorities for spending on public services that help disabled and disadvantaged pupils

Many SENCOS work with looked after children. The results of a consultation on proposals to help children in care suggest ways of improving support for these children

Liz Rowbotham, Full Service Extended School Manager at Hengrove Community Arts College, explains her methods of running and evaluating extended services with the help of partnerships

New research evaluates how effectively Sure Start programmes help children with special needs and disabilities

The Association of Children’s Hospices (ACH) – the national voice for children’s hospice services – asks schools to celebrate 25 years of children’s hospice care through the Butterfly Swimathon.

The half sister of an adopted child applied for leave to apply for a care order, on the basis that once a year was not enough

Graham Haydon responds to the prominence of wellbeing in the news

Looking after other people’s children is responsible work, says Sue Dale Tunnicliffe

A long-term, focused relationship with parents can pay dividends, says John Welham.

Do you always know what messages your parents are taking away with them? Carole Farrar examines some of the messages that you may be giving out.

Professional teams can make the agenda for change work, says Dr Nick Johnson OBE.

A Case Study: Anita Brown, Deputy Headteacher, Ponteland Community High School, Northumberland.

Casterton Business and Enterprise College (CEBC) is one of three truly comprehensive Rutland secondary schools with 800 pupils on role in Years 7-11.

G&T coordinator Jo Smith explains how to get the most out of working with parents.

Reticence to engage with parents on the part of schools can be deep-seated. Teachers may not be aware of the benefits that parents can bring to the learning experience and the students may not realise that they will benefit too. Julie McGrane looks at how parental engagement can be initiated and how schools can find the forms of engagement that work best.

Schools should take note of new reporting and training requirements, as well as changes to appeal panel representation rights, says Ingrid Sutherland.

What should employers do when faced with requests for allowances to be made at work on religious grounds? Helen Badger takes a look at the law.

Carole Farrar highlights how you can make the most of formal communications with parents.

How can you handle children’s surprise at a new classmate’s disfigurement in a way that is positive for everybody? Jane Frances of Changing Faces offers some practical ideas.

Every Disabled Child Matters is a three-year campaign by organisations working with disabled children and their families. Its objectives and proposed actions for change are summarised below.

Carole Farrar continues her series on communication with parents.

Carole Farrar continues her series by looking at ways to make the most of personal contact with your parents.

Bob Jelley, former head and now supply teacher, argues that success in improving school attendance lies in the hands of the encouragers, persuaders and mentors.

Why do so many people think that giftedness is a ‘seriously wrong’ idea? Dr Ruth Cigman argues that the way forward lies in ensuring that we recognise genuine giftedness.

Helen MR Hann looks at the help and support we can provide for those children about to move into Key Stage 1.

Helen MR Hann suggests strategies to help children transfer into the foundation stage.

Half of all primary schools and a third of all secondary schools are due to be open from 8am to 6pm throughout the year by 2008.

Helen M R Hann, an experienced foundation stage teacher, looks at the practical implications of ensuring children’s emotional health and wellbeing as they enter nursery or playgroup for the first time.

Jane Webb is the support childminder coordinator in Milton Keynes, employed by Milton Keynes Council and working within the childcare team at Galley Hill Education Centre in partnership with the National Childminding Association (NCMA). She recounts how her local authority set up its support childminder scheme.

Use all the openings possible to encourage your children to express themselves through the written word, says Lynn Cousins.

Angela Youngman finds out about a scheme to improve communication in early years settings through the use of sign language.

It is estimated that one in six truants on any given day is absent with their parents on a family holiday. As part of the government’s drive to curb unauthorised term-time absences, the DfES and the Association of British Travel Agents are currently promoting the Every Lesson Counts scheme, which offers discounts, free child places and early booking deals for families.

The DfES is to trial parent support advisers in 600 primary and secondary schools from September.

Does the law help or hinder those charged with protecting such pupils?

Ingrid Sutherland cuts a path through existing, new and ‘improved’ guidance.

Family learning covers all forms of informal and formal learning that involve more than one generation, writes Melissa Gardner

In recent months, parents have been much in the educational news. The Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Ruth Kelly, wants them to be more involved in schools, possibly even helping to run them in some way. But many headteachers and their professional associations fear that this means interference rather than involvement.

Since September 2005, as part of the new framework for inspection for children’s services, schools are expected to demonstrate how they are contributing to the five national outcomes for children stipulated by Every Child Matters and the Children Act 2004.

Every August exam results are in the media spotlight; but what we focused on better parenting and better teaching instead? Bill Lucas explores parental involvement