A URALLA mother was cast into the national education spotlight last week in a bid to strengthen the relationship between parents and their schools.
Rachael Sowden is the New England P&C president and also the director of Family Focus Consultancy.
The local mum was invited to speak at the EduChange conference in Melbourne where about 1700 education leaders across the nation gathered to talk about the future of young people.
She told The Express she was delighted by the opportunity.
“It’s really looking at making education better so you don’t fail those 81,000 students each year that don’t complete school,” she said.
“The majority of them, if you look at the statistics, are more likely to come from regional and rural areas.
”It was really exciting and empowering. It was a wonderful group of educators brought together.”
Dr Sowden said she spoke to the group of educators about her story and why she has decided to advocate for better access to education and stronger relationships between parents and educators.
“I talked to them about my story and why I do what I do,” she said. “I showed them pictures of my children but said I do it not just for my kids, but I do it for all kids.
“Every kid has a story behind them, every kid has a family behind them and its about making sure we work together.”
Dr Sowden said one of her main points of interests was fostering relationships with schools.
“Good relationships with schools can make a huge difference,” she said.
It was lovely they got to see me, not just as a mum but also as 'she's got something that might help us.'
“My child got twice his expected growth in NAPLAN this year and this is what it is good at showing, growth in relationships and good teachers, working together.”
Dr Sowden was speaking on behalf of Family Focus Consultancy, a business she formed with former high school principal Wayne Chaffey.
The business provides accredited professional development for teachers on parental engagement.
“It dovetails into my passion perfectly,” Dr Sowden said. We run the majority of it in rural NSW and have courses coming up in Moree, Tamworth and Newcastle as well as Sydney this term.”