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Charity forges links for parents, schools

AAP logoAAP 24/11/2016 Belinda Tasker

Parents and local communities are being encouraged to become more involved at disadvantaged primary and high schools in NSW under a new multi-million dollar program run by an education charity.

More than 100 schools will take part in the Fair Education Program, which will be run for the next five years by education charity Schools Plus and funded by a $5 million donation from the Vincent Fairfax Foundation.

Schools Plus chief executive Rosemary Conn says parents can play a crucial role in helping their children achieve simply by being more involved with schools.

"It's something that is really challenging but it's one of the most important factors in students being successful," she told AAP.

"It's not just about turning up to a year-end event or a carnival. It's about actively being involved in their student's learning."

Ms Conn said 30 schools had begun working on projects to encourage parent involvement, ranging from health-based concepts to student learning.

"In the schools we are working in there are often parents who haven't had a great experience at school so school isn't necessarily seen as a positive," she said.

"So you don't have parents encouraging their children to go to school sometimes.

"Or maybe you have two parents who work and can't always be there. So there are projects that engage children after school so they continue to learn."

The program will be launched on Friday by NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli at Hilltop Road Public School, in Sydney's west.

Staff at the school are developing a project to encourage more parents to be involved in the transition of their children from year six to high school, in a similar way local pre-schoolers are supported by Hilltop before they start kindergarten.

Parents of the year six students are being offered tours of the local high school, whose teachers in turn are given information from their counterparts at Hilltop about the new pupils.

Hilltop principal Natalie See says the connection many parents have with primary schools often breaks down when their children start high school.

"Parents and students both need a sense of belonging to the high school and be able to feel connected to it in the same way they did at primary school," she said.

"It's important that families foster that positive relationship with the high school so they can help with any issues that arise."

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