Parents could be encouraged to take refresher classes in key subjects such as maths to help their children learn at home, according to a new Scottish Government blueprint.
There will also be a drive to get more parents volunteering in schools as part of a new national plan for families to get more involved in the education system.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney says the push can help drive up standards in classrooms and reduce the attainment gap between affluent and less well off parts of the country. But opponents warned that parents must not be used to “pick up the slack” for teacher shortages and cuts to resources.
Scotland’s first national plan to get parents involved with their youngsters’ education was published yesterday.
The plan aims to target fathers to ensure they play a pivotal role in helping their children learn amid concerns the existing approach is passing them by.
But a key stumbling block for getting parents involved in helping youngsters with their schooling is that many find maths and numeracy “intimidating”, the plan states.
Schools are already providing help for parents to tackle this.
“Drop-in classroom sessions, tailored classes on numeracy learning for parents, numeracy cafes, bedtime maths sessions, video and social media updates and evening sessions at school with pizza and hot chocolate are all common methods employed,” the publication states.
Education Scotland is now to work with parents’ groups to promote such good practice and back the role of parents in assisting their child’s learning.
A similar approach will be taken to get more parents volunteering at schools, with a working group being established by ministers to see how this can be made easier.
It points to the success of a programme in North Ayrshire where the “Wee Family” scheme got parents involved in helping their youngsters learn French, including going into the classroom one afternoon a week.
The Action plan has 50 recommendations and sees parents playing a more hands-on role in the life of schools, including a say in the recruitment of staff.
The report was welcomed by opposition parties, who back formal recognition of the role of parents in children’s education.
“Some of these proposals will not only help children’s learning, but also be of benefit to the parents,” Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said.
“But it’s clear this cannot be allowed to develop into a situation where parents are picking up the slack for teacher shortages and financial challenges.”