22nd November 2018

When it comes to how well children do at school, parents really do matter - the evidence is compelling.

As schools nationwide grapple with the pressures of stretched budgets, teacher recruitment and retention, and ongoing pupil and school assessment, many are now recognising and embracing the power that parental engagement can have to help them give every child the opportunity to achieve their potential.

School leadership teams are increasingly recognising that establishing good home-school relations is fundamental to delivering good education. What’s more, many can see how increased parental engagement and involvement can in fact help lessen teacher workload and support overall school improvement. 

The effect of parental engagement over a student’s school career is the equivalent of adding two to three years to their education - Professor John Hattie, 2008

So what are schools doing?

Many schools have worked hard to set up effective two-way communications by providing opportunities for parent’s voices to be heard. This can done through a variety of different ways including consultation exercises, surveys and focus groups as well as through more formal groups like parent forums, parent councils, or indeed through an existing PTA.

This consultation with parents enables schools to understand the issues that parents have a genuine interest in so they can take their views on board in planning and developing school policy. In addition, a supportive parent body can create a stronger sense of community and help build momentum around issues and projects that a school is facing or undertaking.

So what should schools do to kick-start their efforts to improve parental engagement? Here are our top tips:

  • Get the buy-in of governors or senior leadership teams and encourage them to champion parental involvement in school
  • Consider setting up a parent council with participants that represent different parts of your parent community, where their views are listened to by the senior leadership team, governors and trustees.

Parentkind (formerly PTA UK) is a registered charity that champions all the ways that parents can participate in education and is the leading Parent Teacher Association (PTA) membership organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Parentkind also provides training and resources to teachers, governors and parents to build successful home-school relationships. See more at www.parentkind.org.uk