Parent Engagement


Parents associations exist in all the Member States of the European Union, and they are usually organized in regional and national federations and confederations. The adherence to them by parents is voluntary and is usually financed by the fees of their members. Sometimes, the directors or managers of the centers themselves are responsible for promoting the existence of such associations and supporting their activity (Eurydice, 2004, Hill and Peck, 2000).

The associations have autonomy of operation, and in the vast majority of countries are formed only by parents of students, although, in the case of England and Wales and Scotland operate the associations of parents and teachers formed by representatives of both groups .

The tasks that parents' associations carry out regularly are usually related to the organization of outings, cultural visits and free time activities for students. In some countries, they also carry out training work with their own parents and, on occasion, work in the acquisition of funds for schools. Generally, associations can participate in decisions and debates with the educational authorities of the different countries, although it is more frequent that such participation is only in an advisory capacity.

The governing bodies of the associations are usually formed by parents elected by the members of the association itself. In some countries, parents' representatives in representative bodies at the central, regional or school level must belong to one of the parent associations.

At European level, there are several federations that carry out the work of coordinating parent associations:

  • The Confederation of Family Organizations of the European Union (Confederation of Family Organizations in the European Union, COFACE). Created in 1958, it collaborates with the European institutions in all sectors related to the rights and interests of families.
  • The European Parents Association (EPA). Founded in 1985, in Milan, to establish an association of parents and families across Europe.
  • The International Association of Parents' Associations of Catholic Teaching (Groupement international des associations de parents de l'enseignement catholique, OE-GIAPEC), which since 1987 brings together the Associations of Parents of Pupils of Catholic Teaching in Europe.
  • At a school centre level, there is an AMPA for each school: AsociaciĆ³n de Madres y Padres de Alumnos - Association of parents of students.

Participation is a guiding principle of school systems practically throughout Europe. It is considered that this principle is not only a requirement for the democratization of education, but also a procedure to ensure a greater receptivity of the system to the different types of educational needs and to ensure a higher quality of education.

The participation of parents of students in the regulated system of teaching in Spain is carried out at different levels. This intervention begins with the choice of the type of education and educational center for their children, continues with the participation in the consultative collegiate bodies of the system and in the governing bodies of the centers, continues with the activities undertaken through the associations of parents, and is consolidated with the permanent exchange of information and commitments between families and schools, tending to reinforce reasonably homogeneous educational lines between both environments and avoid eventual dysfunctions.

The participation bodies in which parents are represented at the different levels of the Spanish school system are: central, intermediate (regional or local) and school in a large sample of European countries.

  • National: State School Board
  • Regional: School Board of the Autonomous Community
  • Local: Municipal School Council
  • Center/school: School Board of the center



last modified: Tue, 10/30/2018 - 08:50