Home School Community Liaison Scheme

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Home-School Community Liaison (HSCL)

HSCL is a full-time undertaking. HSCL Coordinators are released from all teaching duties and engage in full-time liaison work between the home, the school, and the community.

Mr Michael Kilbride is the current HSCL Co-ordinator in O’Connell Secondary School.

  • The scheme operates in a spirit of partnership and collaboration with parents and teachers, while at the same time, being part of an ongoing and wider integrated services approach to children’s educational welfare.
  • The scheme is unified and integrated at both primary and post primary levels.
  • The thrust of the scheme is preventative, ensuring that interventions are put in place,
    which will impact positively on parents and children, in order to improve educational
    outcomes.
  • The focus of the scheme is principally on the salient adults, whose attitudes and
    behaviours impinge on the attendance, participation and retention of children in
    education. This involves the identification of and response to needs, through a set of
    interventions, which are evidence- based.
  • The scheme helps to develop and promote teacher and staff attitudes to partnership. It
    encourages a whole-school approach to improving attendance, participation and
    retention in education.
  • The scheme is solution-focused, building on the strengths of parents and carers through
    empowerment and capacity-building.
  • Visiting families in their home setting is a crucial element in establishing trust, assessing
    needs, and monitoring the effect of plans and interventions put in place to bring about
    improved outcomes for children.
  • Partnership with the two other service strands, within Educational Welfare Services, of
    the Child and Family Agency, other relevant support services and voluntary and statutory
    agencies is essential to increasing effectiveness, reducing duplication and providing an
    integrated delivery of service to marginalised children and their families.
  • The HSCL Coordinator is required to link with and work with the key players in the local
    community, so that they can add value to what is done in the school, in relation to
    attendance, participation and retention.
  • The HSCL Coordinator is an agent of change, not only for individuals and families but also
    for schools and the wider educational system.
  • Targets children at risk of not reaching their potential in the educational system because
    of family-based issues, which adversely affect pupil attainment and school retention.
  • Focuses directly on the significant adults in children’s lives and seeks direct benefits for
    the children themselves.
  • Works in an enabling way with parents to develop their capacity as a key resource in their
    children’s learning

The HSCL develops the pupil-parent-teacher relationship, so that school becomes a place where all
young people can reach their potential.

  • Identifies and provides for the personal, leisure and learning needs of parents, so as to
    promote their self-worth and self-confidence, which will have a positive impact on their
    children’s education. The HSCL Coordinator becomes familiar with attendance patterns, in order to maximize student attendance, participation and retention.
  • Works in a supportive and purposeful way with parents and facilitates communication
    with class teacher, tutor, year-head, and school management, when required.
  • Promotes positive teacher and staff attitudes towards partnership-working and adopting a
    whole-school approach to attendance participation and retention.

On January 1st 2014, the statutory functions of the NEWB under the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, were transferred to the newly established Child and Family Agency Tusla (the Agency) and the NEWB was dissolved. Responsibility for the services, formerly provided by NEWB, now rests with the Educational Welfare Services (EWS) of the new Agency, which is the dedicated state agency responsible for improving wellbeing and outcomes for children. The work of HSCL continues as a vital part of the integrated Educational Welfare Services of the Agency in DEIS schools.
HSCL Scheme – Key Priorities

  • The HSCL scheme is targeted and focused on the most marginalised families.
  • Home visitation is a central component of the scheme. “The home visit is crucial to
    developing empathy with families in their efforts to engage with the education system. It
    essentially builds a bridge between the home and the school. Information about the
    school and other services in the community is offered, and in turn, parents’ views and
    opinions are invaluable to the school. The visit is a two-way journey, where bonds of trust
    are built, in a spirit of mutual respect and support. The partnership of parent and school is
    crucial and enriches the child’s engagement with learning.”The Home School Community
    Liaison Scheme in Ireland: From Vision to Best Practice written by the HSCL Coordinators,
    2005-2006. HSCL Coordinators spend at least 33% of their work time on home visitation,
    in order to establish positive relationships between home and school and to support
    parents in ensuring their children attend school and participate meaningfully in education.
  • Individual parents are supported with their children’s learning through the work of the
    HSCL Coordinator.
  • HSCL Coordinators facilitate courses and classes for parents to help them support their
    children’s learning. The provision of a parent’s room or dedicated space facilitates this and
    effectively, the school becomes a centre of welcome, where parents enjoy the hospitality
    of other parents in a warm and cheerful atmosphere, situated within their child’s school.
  • Each HSCL Coordinator devises and promotes new methodologies and practices to
    counter educational disadvantage and the positive outcomes of the HSCL scheme are recorded and shared throughout the school system.
  • Each HSCL Coordinator works to build on the capacity of parents to support other parents.
  • Each HSCL Coordinator will produce plans incorporating targets, to meet the key priorities
    of the HSCL Scheme, in accordance with strategic direction of Educational Welfare
    Services in the Child and Family Agency.