The majority of international schools in Hong Kong have an active parent teacher association or group. These groups of dedicated (and mostly unpaid) parent volunteers are key to building a close-knit school community – from giving new families a warm welcome at back-to-school events to thanking teachers at annual appreciation breakfast.
The importance of these grassroots organisations is widely recognised by school inspectors; Ofsted, the UK schools’ inspectorate, has found that “joint working between the home and the school led to much better outcomes for pupils”.
And a survey of UK schools by PTA UK in 2017 also highlighted the impact of parental engagement within a school. Six out of 10 teachers said that it improves academic achievement (62%) and pupil behaviour (59%), while a third (32%) felt that when parent views are shared, it has a positive impact on school decision-making.
Other key findings included:
Across Hong Kong, there are many examples of how parents are getting actively involved in the running of their child’s school.
Kellett School is one of the most British of schools in the city. While there are plenty of schools claiming to have a family atmosphere, few manage to capture it quite as well as Kellett School, where the tradition of parent partnership is deeply rooted within the school. Kellett was founded in 1976 and it continues to be owned and governed by parents to this day.
Get the Kellett experience, read about our visit to the Kowloon Bay campus here.
We offer multiple ways for parents to get involved in the school – from helping out in the library, school shop, selling pre-loved uniform, giving careers talks, organising fundraising events, being a Governor – the list is endless. Our parents are awesome, always stepping up with boundless energy and enthusiasm.
The levels of parental engagement in our school, which runs from our parent-majority board to a highly active Parents’ Committee to individuals giving time for all manner of activities, is a core part of Kellett’s culture. This is most visible at our alumni events which parents get as much out of as our former students.
Our school was founded by parents and remains a parent owned school to this day with each family with a child in the school becoming a member of the Kellett School Association Limited and a parent-majority board.
Parents get involved at school in a multitude of ways. For example, each prep school class has two class parents and in the senior school we have Year Coordinators for house year groups. Parents can volunteer to be part of the Fair Committee, Kellett Cares (the charitable arm of the Parents Committee), the book shop, hospitality, volunteer on class trips, cooking lessons, plus many more.
When parents volunteer they help to build the fabric of the school as well as create a closer knit community.
At the start of the school year we have a New Parents Evening for each campus to welcome all new families to our community. Class parents organise a class gathering in the first month of school so parents have a chance to meet each other in a more intimate gathering.
I would say attending some of the early school events can be helpful in meeting new people. You can reach out to the class parent with any questions and schedule individual play dates with anyone your child may have connected with in class.