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Helping parents to help

“We all have a part to play, it is a community effort to help parents make informed decisions and find the right opportunities for their children.”

Ade Banjoko is a director of Parents Action and Resource Centre (PARC), an independent community organisation of volunteers, which started a new education advice service for local families in January, based at Northolt High School.

A number of recommendations relating to education were made by the independent Ealing Race Equality Commission’s report to Ealing Council in 2022, which had been requested by the council. Council leader Peter Mason accepted all of the recommendations which, among other things, aimed to tackle the gaps in the educational attainment of local black school pupils.

Although PARC has been working with the council’s schools team for a number of years, its new service will provide advice and guidance for all local parents of black and black dual heritage children on improving the educational experience and attainment for their children. Along with regular coffee mornings and events, PARC already ran a Saturday School Club to provide pupils with extra tuition, to supplement the school curriculum.

The new service, funded by the National Lottery, will provide an online drop-in clinic and 4 workshops led by specialist education advocates – with Northolt High supporting PARC by providing a base.

Angela McGowan, another of the directors of PARC, said: “We know that parents want to do all they can to support their child’s educational experience and ensure they get the best academic results they can. The drop-in and workshops give them the support they need to do this.”

‘For the good of everyone’

Ade added: “We are all volunteers at PARC, made up of teachers and parents; but we all think it is an important thing to help everyone know what’s available, get involved and help shape policy too for the good of everyone. The advice service tackles issues parents say they want help with, from choosing a school to advocating for their children; and from support for SEND provision, to just being able to talk to others in a similar situation.

“We have grown mainly through word of mouth, and we’d like more people to come along.”

The drop-in clinic runs during term time on Wednesday evenings (6-7pm) and Thursday afternoons (12-2pm). In addition, PARC is providing 4 Connected Community Champions workshops, a free programme aimed at parents who are members of parent forums or would like support in starting a parent forum.

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