Home-school partnerships

This module offers suggestions about ways a school can work with parents and whānau to improve students’ social and emotional wellbeing.

Focus questions
  1. Did the “Home-School partnership” sub-aspect data suggest any next steps for your school?
  2. Do you have other school data about this area of school practice? What does this tell you?

Key ideas about home-school partnerships
There are many reasons why schools might build partnerships with parents and whānau. It is important to have a clear idea of, and shared understanding about, the purpose of these partnerships. Some form of partnership with parents is a common aspect of most whole school approaches that aim to promote wellbeing or develop healthy social relationships by addressing bullying behaviours.

Some types of school-home partnerships are more directly linked with improvements to student outcomes. One type is partnerships that involve school staff and parents working together with a clear focus on particular learning or behaviour outcomes. 

Reflective question(s)

Do we have effective systems for actively working with parents and whānau to improve our approaches to health and wellbeing?


What are the expectations of schools?

The NZ Curriculum notes that “it is expected that schools will consult with their communities when developing health and sexuality education programmes.” (Health and PE learning area, p.22, MoE 2007)


Ways of working could include

Consulting and reporting

  • Consulting with parents and whānau about school approaches to health and wellbeing (through means appropriate to each school community such as via surveys, hui, fono, or parent meetings).
  • Sharing student W@S data with the parent and whānau community to start a discussion about how local schools and parents could work together to promote health and wellbeing.
  • Including parent and whānau representatives on school health and wellbeing self-review or action planning teams.
  • Regular reporting to parents and whānau and the BoT about W@S data and progress on health and wellbeing goals, and to celebrate students’ successes.


Working together to build knowledge and skills

  • Using information about the characteristics of successful home-school partnerships to design new ways of working with parents and whānau.
  • Working with parents, whānau, and the wider community to actively promote health and wellbeing (e.g., holding whole school events that celebrate student and community health and wellbeing)
  • Offering parents and whānau information and skill building workshops on school approaches (e.g., parent and whānau could work with students and staff to explore new school approaches such as restorative practices).


Working together to support individual students

  • Developing IEPs for individual students with learning or behaviour needs, in collaboration with parents and whānau. Ensuring regular meetings to discuss strategies to support these students (see IEP guidelines).
  • Using initiatives such as social workers in schools and Check and Connect where available to support students at risk, and their parents and whanau.


Building partnerships with Māori whānau or Pacific parents

  • Using Home-School Partnerships modules to build connections with parents from different cultural groups about promoting health and wellbeing.
  • Exploring culturally-responsive approaches to working with parents and whānau to support individual students with behaviour difficulties (e.g., the Hikairo Rationale, Macfarlane, 2007).