Funding of £350,000 has been announced as part of moves to get parents more involved in schools.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney set out an action plan aimed at improving the links between home and the classroom.

Proposals include encouraging the involvement of groups that are harder to reach including ethnic minority parents, disadvantaged families and those with children who are disabled or have learning difficulties.

Other measures include expanding opportunities for parents to volunteer in schools, reviewing guidance on parental involvement and improving training for parent councils.

The plan has been welcomed by parent groups and charities, but there were also calls for the plan to be enshrined in legislation to ensure progress is made.

Mr Swinney said: “We want every family to have the right support in place so that they can be involved in every stage of their children’s learning.

“We know there is a strong link between parental engagement and academic achievement and this plan will play a key role in helping to reduce the attainment gap.”

Stephen McCabe, education spokesman for council umbrella body Cosla, said involving parents was crucial.

He said: “Local authorities have a strong track record in supporting engagement from involving parents in their children’s learning to decision-making on education policies and priorities.

“We hope the plan strengthens and improves parental involvement in our education.”

Mark Ballard, Scottish spokesman of the Save the Children charity, said poverty played a key role in preventing engagement.

He said: “For parents struggling to make ends meet, it can be really hard to find the time and confidence to support their children’s learning.

“We therefore welcome the clear focus on supporting parents to develop the skills and confidence to play, talk and learn with their children.

“However, we had hoped the plan would be underpinned by legislative change.”

Eileen Prior, executive director of parent body Connect, also welcomed the plan.

She said: “Gathering evidence of what works and supporting school communities to work in ways that suit their families is key to success.”

The Learning Together plan was developed in partnership with Cosla, the National Parent Forum of Scotland, curriculum body Education Scotland and the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland.

The £350,000 will come from a newly created equalities fund which will pay out £175,000 in 2019/20 and a further £175,000 the following year.