Decision-making strategies for schools

Parents in Action for Education (Montreal)

Parents in Action for Education (Montreal)

Parents in Action for Education - a parent advocacy project in Montreal, Canada, makes the case for providing parents with the time and capability to be deeply involved in school decision making (FLV, 6:15mins). Click through to YouTube to learn more about Parents in Action.

  • Ensure consultation processes are flexible, to reach a wide range of students, parents and community members. Use different modes of communication to ensure all respondents can participate. Consider including online and confidential feedback channels for this purpose.
  • Ensure information about consultation opportunities is widely circulated in a variety of forms and if needed, in different languages.
  • Offer training and skill development opportunities to parents and teachers to help them make the most of consultation opportunities.
  • Develop strategies that help teachers balance time and workload issues that may result from their involvement with consultative decision-making.
  • Encourage active participation in the school council, the P&C association, and other school decision-making groups.
  • Encourage student participation in decision-making processes.
  • Develop the capability of student leaders so they can participate in consultation more effectively, as well as developing opportunities for other students to participate.
  • Establish networks to link parent and community leaders to the broader school community.
  • Develop and offer opportunities for parents and the community to participate in decision making in ways that are appropriate for supporting children of different ages and stages of development. For example:


Conduct surveys to find out opinions from a wide range of parents and community members.

Encourage participation on the school council or P&C association.

Years 3-6

Organise training in governance skills and make this available to parents and community members.

Encourage parents and community members to become engaged and invested in the vision and direction of the school.

Years 7-9

Seek out parents who may feel marginalised and encourage their comments on issues or directions under consultation.

Engage parents in the development of the strategic plan, using a variety of modes.

Years 10-12

Establish an Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools (EATSIPS) education committee in the school.

Offer to arrange translation of draft school planning documents into the key languages of the school community to extend consultation to a broader range of parent groups.

Specific strategies to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

  • Make use of informal gatherings over time to build a sense of trust and mutual respect. This type of atmosphere is important to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents, caregivers and communities are able to contribute their ideas and perspectives.
  • Consider involving independent third parties (e.g. facilitators) in consultation activities to enable discussion of matters that are culturally sensitive.
  • Enlist Indigenous education workers to help build bridges to enable parents and community members to participate in decision-making and consultation. In particular, these staff may be able to help school leaders understand and engage with local protocols and processes about how communities make and communicate decisions.
  • Welcome a diversity of views, beliefs, behaviours and preferences within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. For example, while some parents may feel comfortable attending a consultation meeting, others may prefer and need a more personal or confidential medium.
  • Consult key staff for advice on engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents, carers and communities, such as Regional Community Education Counsellors, school based Community Education Counsellors (CECs) or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teacher Aides.
Last reviewed
14 December 2015
Last updated
14 December 2015

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