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Help for Polish parents

Bilingual guidebook produced to help Polish parents negotiate the UK Primary School system. 

Bilingual guidebook produced to help Polish parents negotiate the UK Primary School system

A bilingual guidebook has been created by academics at the Social Policy Research Centre at Middlesex University to guide Polish parents through the UK primary education system.

The publication - Polish Pupils in UK Primary Schools, a Guide for Parents - is based on research by the University staff into the experiences of Polish children, their parents and their teachers in UK Primary schools.  It will be launched at a conference on 20-21 May.

Through their research Dr Louise Ryan, Alessio D’Angelo, Professor Rosemary Sales and Magda Lopez Rodriguez found a great need for the booklet they subsequently produced.

The publication has been praised by Emil Pietras, the First Secretary for Science and Education at the Polish Embassy in London.  He said: “The bilingual guidebook that Louise and her colleagues have produced is a very useful resource for Polish parents with children in British Primary Schools.”

Dr Ryan said: “The research found a clash of expectations between many Polish parents and their children’s teachers.  This was often because the parents did not have a full understanding of how the British educational system worked and how it differed from the system back in Poland. For instance, the question of feedback on a child’s progress was a big issue.

“Another important difference is that pupils start school in Poland later than in the UK, meaning some of the Polish children enrolling in schools in this country will be experiencing formal education for the first time.”

The guidebook, written in both Polish and English, with a glossary of terms and advice on where to go for information, seeks to empower Polish parents to become involved in their child’s schooling, with information on a wide range of issues informed by the research and the differences in the two countries’ systems, including:

  • the different types of Primary Schools;

  • applying for a place;

  • the school day;

  • homework;

  • parents’ evenings.

The event at which the guidebook will be launched is titled Children, Families and the Migration Experience: Opportunities and Challenges.  It includes a workshop for EMA teams, practitioners and teachers on 20 May and a conference on 21 May.


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