FAQs for schools

We already have school staff who speak community languages; if not, we book community interpreters for specific meetings. Why do we need a Renaisi adviser?

If you have bilingual staff working in other roles, or regular interpreters, that’s a great start.  However, the benefit of a dedicated adviser is that they can reach out to your minority language families, build trust over time and introduce activities which focus on creating a diverse school community.

We’re interested in parental engagement and want to reach our minority language communities. Where do we start?

If you have already thought about how to engage a diverse range of families, you’re an ideal partner for us.  We can help you to design a Parental Engagement Strategy which focuses on simple things such as a rolling events calendar, how you convey information simply, and how to use parent volunteers effectively.  Our Bilingual Advisers can then put this into practice, sharing ideas from partner schools and recruiting parents and pupils to help out.

We have so many different languages in our school and don’t want to single out or alienate anyone. How will one adviser help us to reach all of our families?

We agree that everyone needs to feel included. We work closely with our partner schools to identify a starting point – either focusing on the largest language group, or on a particularly isolated group who may benefit from our support. We also bring in additional languages as needed. Ultimately though, our aim is to encourage integration across communities and cultures and our families quickly recognise and respond to this message.

Are advisers only for minority language families?

No. While the primary role is to support minority language parents to integrate into school communities, RBA activities are open to all parents at your school. In fact, we believe that including everyone is the key to positive integration.

We use children to interpret for their parents. Why do we need an adviser?

We are always positive about encouraging bilingual children to use and be proud of our skills, and most of our activities celebrate this. However, there are complexities involved in using children to interpret for parents. Apart from obvious safeguarding issues, we also believe that we need to empower parents to take responsibility for their children and see themselves as co-educators.

We’re interested in the RBA service. Can we get a taster before we commission?

We understand that commissioning external services is not straightforward and that you may not be clear on where to start. We’re happy to undertake a short term diagnostic or specific project so that you can get to know our service.  We’re also happy to give you any advice free of charge, or to develop funding applications on your behalf – particularly if you are part of a school cluster or local group of schools.

How are advisers managed and supported in school?

RBAs receive monthly line-management and supervision directly from their Renaisi Manager, and are subject to an annual performance appraisal.  Working closely with you, we agree an action plan for each adviser and review this throughout the year to make sure we meet your needs.  In addition, we undertake regular visits to your school to help out with events and support your school community.

How does your service help us with the Ofsted Inspection Framework?

The Ofsted School Inspection Handbook lists several key criteria which we can help with:

  • Leadership and management

We can help your school to promote all forms of equality and foster greater understanding of and respect for people of all faiths [through] words, actions and influence within the school and more widely in the community’

We can also contribute to ‘the work to raise awareness and keep pupils safe from the dangers of abuse, sexual exploitation, radicalisation and extremism, and what the school does when it suspects that pupils are vulnerable to these issues.’

  •  Quality of teaching, learning and assessment

Central to our work with minority language parents is our ability to support ‘the school’s engagement with parents, carers and employers helps them to understand how children and learners are doing in relation to the standards expected and what they need to do to improve’.

A key part of this is about disseminating information in accessible ways ‘on how well their child is progressing and how well their child is doing in relation to the standards expected. Parents are given guidance about how to support their child to improve.’

Our service can have particular impact in Early Years provision, where families may be most vulnerable to language and cultural barriers.  We work closely with Early Years staff to ‘work with parents, engage them in their children’s learning and keep them informed about their children’s achievements and progress’