We define parental engagement as the involvement of parents in supporting their children’s academic learning. It includes:
The association between parental engagement and a child’s academic success is well established and there is a long history of research into parental engagement programmes. However, there is surprisingly little robust evidence about the impact of approaches designed to improve learning through increased parental engagement.
The evidence is predominantly from primary level and the early years, though there are studies which have looked at secondary schools. Impact studies tend to focus on reading and mathematics attainment.
The costs of different approaches vary considerably, from developing workshops for parents and improving communication with them, to intensive family support programs with specialized staff. Costs are generally estimated as moderate.
Before you implement this strategy in your learning environment, consider the following:
Engagement is often easier to achieve with parents of very young children. How will you maintain parental engagement as children get older?
Have you provided a flexible approach to allow parental engagement to fit around parents’ schedules? Parents of older children may appreciate short sessions at flexible times.
How will you make your school welcoming for parents, especially those whose own experience of school may not have been positive?
What practical support, advice and guidance can you give to parents who are not confident in their ability to support their children’s learning, such as simple strategies to help early readers?