- Addressing and improving Parental Engagement
The National College has created a toolkit to assess how parental engagement is being addressed at your school. For more details on this valuable resource, see below.
Also of interest may be the following links:
- http://www.education.gov.uk/nationalcollege/docinfo?id=175755&filename=leading-and-developing-parental-engagement-improving-your-own-practice.pdf (updated April 2012)
- DfE report on Best Practice in Parental Engagement (Sept 2011)
- How parent-friendly is your school website?
- Resources to download from DfE on Parental Engagement (produced 2010 by DCSF) and the Working Together pack for parents and carers.
- Overcoming 10 common barriers to parental engagement - blog post from Creative Education
- Summary of research findings on parental engagement and learning - EEP (Education Evidence Portal)
- June 2011 Research on Outward-Facing Schools – the Sinnott Fellowship (via DfE)
- 2003 Research on Parental Involvement (via DfE)
- Support from Education Consultants (Eduscope) and the SPACE scheme (Supporting Parents and Carer Engagement)
- Three Top Tips for Teachers on Talking to Parents (Times Educational Supplement)
Addressing and improving Parental Engagement: The National College has created a resource to assess how parental engagement is being addressed at your school. The two key documents to access are: Leading-and-developing-parental-engagement-improving-your-own-practice NCSL 2011 (pdf) and Leading and developing Parental Engagement – an auditing tempate NCSL 2011] (Word) There are three phases to work through:
1. An introduction to the theme of parental engagement: This asks you to explore assumptions around parental engagement, and to identify your reasons for engaging more closely with parents, including the challenges you want to address and outcomes you want to achieve. It is supplemented by a link to the DCSF (2008) publication, The Impact of Parental Involvement on Children’s Education . You are advised to read this document before starting to use the resource.
2. An audit of practice: These activities ask you to identify your position on a simple development continuum and are supplemented by case studies from the National College (2010) report, Leadership for parental engagement. The outcomes of phases 1 and 2 lead naturally to the third and final phase. The toolkit is available here: Leading and developing Parental Engagement – an auditing tempate NCSL 2011]
3. Prioritising: This final activity enables you to identify the actions that must be taken, should be taken and could be taken to achieve your parental engagement objectives.
Phase 1: Why should you involve parents in their children’s education?
The purpose of phase 1 is to ensure understanding of and commitment to engaging parents more fully, particularly in the context of your own setting and community, so that phase 2 (an audit of current practice) is meaningful and important: part of (rather than an addition to) the school’s work.
The starting point for the activity that follows is to consider where your school or children’s centre is in its commitment to parental engagement, with a recognition that appropriate approaches and levels of commitment vary depending on the context of your setting and community. For example, you may be looking to do more or better; to maximise impact with reduced resources; or to develop your parental engagement strategy to address a gap you have identified.
It may be helpful to reflect on these questions:
- Why do we need to involve parents in their children’s education?
- What challenges and barriers do we need to address in our school, children’s centre or community?
- How would parental engagement support our outcomes and priorities for children?
- What is preventing us from doing more with our parents?
Following reflection on these questions, test out your answer on the following simple statement: “Parents in our context are currently insufficiently involved in their children’s education”
Alternatively, you might wish to ask:
- What could we do to engage our parents in supporting their child’s education?
- Are we doing enough to involve our parents in supporting their child’s education?
These questions generate a different statement to test out: “Parents should be involved in their children’s education”.
Phase 2: Audit of practice
Having identified why parental engagement is important for you, phase 2 focuses on how well you are doing currently on this issue.
The auditing tool is designed to enable a school to audit its current practice against five key themes, identified in the 2010 report on Leadership for Parental Engagement.
Theme 1: Vision, values, culture and strategic direction for parental engagement
- There is a clear and shared understanding about what we mean by parental engagement, underpinned by a clear value set that guides what we do.
- We have a clear and explicit vision for parental engagement.
- Parental engagement forms a core part of our strategic direction.
- Our vision is clearly communicated to all partners and organisations with which we work.
- Our work on parental engagement is aligned with and forms part of the vision of the wider cluster.
Theme 2: Leadership of parental engagement
- There are clearly identified leadership roles for parental engagement in our school or children’s centre that are known to both parents and other schools and children’s centres.
- Parental engagement is a clear leadership responsibility distributed among all staff, both teaching and non-teaching.
- Clear lines of accountability for parental engagement exist across key members of staff
- Staff who lead this work are passionate, committed and believe strongly in the work they do.
- Staff who lead this work are skilled at developing relationships built on trust.
Theme 3: Parental engagement in practice
- We offer parents regular and frequent opportunities to talk to staff about their child’s progress.
- We offer a range of opportunities to help parents support their children’s learning
- We have strong systems in place to evaluate parental engagement work that is clearly focused on learning, progress and outcomes.
- Our parental engagement work is focused on ensuring that parents are widely consulted about and directly involved in decision-making for future provision.
- We have strategies in place to involve parents who do not usually engage with our school or children’s centre.
- We offer parents a range of opportunities to gain new skills and engage in interest- or work-related learning.
Theme 4: Collaborative work beyond the school, centre and cluster
- Our work with other schools and children’s centres focuses on the specific needs of families in our local community.
- Our parental engagement work is aligned with the agreed priorities of the local area.
- Our parental engagement work is clearly linked to work with the whole community and other public sector agencies.
- Our parental engagement work includes partnerships with voluntary organisations.
- Our collaborative work signposts and provides parents with access to a range of services.
Theme 5: Sustainability
- Our governors and local partners have a clear understanding of and support the work we do on parental engagement.
- We have formal governance or partnership structures in place to support the work we do with parents.
- Key posts supporting parental engagement are funded through sustainable routes, and are part of the development plan for our school or children’s centre.
- All staff are committed to and actively seek to increase parental engagement as an integral part of their core work.
- Social enterprise forms an important part of our strategy for ensuring sustainability.
For more information on this resource, visit the National College website or download the two documents:
Leading-and-developing-parental-engagement-improving-your-own-practice NCSL 2011
Leading and developing Parental Engagement – an auditing tempate NCSL 2011]