Parental engagement decoded – what it is and why your school needs it

Parental Engagement has been a ‘thing’ in education for quite some time now, with the majority of UK schools affirming their pledge to engage parents in school communications. Yet surprisingly few teachers are involved in the process – according to the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), ‘fewer than 10% of teachers have undertaken CPD [Continuing Professional Development] on parental engagement’. It seems that while the concept is accepted as a good idea in principle, many establishments are failing to get on board in practice and of those that do, the majority fail to maintain the consistency required to achieve results.

Mum and daughter have fun doing homework

What is parental engagement?

Parental engagement is not the same as parental involvement. Parents who turn up to school fêtes and Nativities at Christmas are involved. Engagement is rather a two-way street, whereby teachers and parents work hand-in-hand to raise attainment levels and improve behaviour, with positive results reflected both in school and in the wider community. As Sir Kevan Collins, Chairman of the EEF, states, ‘We know that levels of parental engagement are consistently associated with children’s academic outcomes. We also know that a parent’s job, education and income matters less to their child’s development than what they actually do with them’. In other words – no matter what the social background of the parents, encouraging them to engage with their child’s education at home can raise achievement levels across the board.

How to engage parents? Seek out Schoop!
For many and varied reasons, parents may be reticent to engage fully with their child’s school or teachers. Perhaps there is a language barrier or they themselves had a negative school experience as a child. Schoop overcomes these barriers by communicating carefully thought-out messages that never castigate or blame, but support, suggest, encourage and advise. In this way, Schoop offers the means to reach out to all parents, not just the enthusiastic few. Weekly push notifications with age-relevant tips to encourage their child to read or study, for example, have been shown to have positive results and don’t have to be onerous on the teacher. Helpful tips could include:

  • For younger children:
    Tips and suggestions for parents to support reading, how to use the ‘five W’s’, ideas on how to use counting and numbers in everyday life etc.
  • For older children:
    Supporting good study habits: How to organise a workspace, taking effective study notes and getting into the habit of daily topic reviews

Your parental engagement policy won’t necessarily be perfect from the start, however, consistently maintaining contact with parents and listening to their opinions and suggestions can see a marked improvement in attainment levels. Ensure parents know that you value their input and are listening to their opinion utilising Schoop’s survey feature. Ask how you’re doing and how school-to-parent feedback and communication may be improved or refined. Keep parents in the loop with their child’s education and you can’t go far wrong!

Schoop and your school – working hand-in-hand to deliver parental engagement. Click on the link for a quick demo to see just how we make it possible.