Some level of engagement and communication with parents is a basic need in any school. Without it, you are extremely limited on what you and your students can achieve. To create the best possible learning experience, and to prep for the best possible outcomes, the parent and the school need to be on the same page. This means facilitating – ideally – a two-way conversation. If you really want to push attainment, achievement and the whole school’s next level though, you need to think above the basics. This means invest of budget and time in technology, strategy, and execution. Just like any organisation, you’re probably going to need to build a strong business case to make any sort of investment.
With that in mind, here are a few reasons great parental engagement helps you achieve more as a school.
Create a community
Any relationship works better when two-way communication happens. And when you’re an institution trying to build a strong relationship with a large number of people – it’s all about creating a community. Creating an open forum and line of communication for all parties to share ideas and feedback will make everyone feel closer together and will help parents to feel more involved in the school. This is good for a whole host of reasons, including increased attendance at school events and activities, increased levels of volunteering for said events or school trips, and ultimately, makes parents more likely to recommend your school to friends, family, and everyone else they know. In sales and marketing, it’s known as “creating brand loyalists”. The benefits are clear – a happy customer means a recommendation for you. Keeping a strong, meaningful two-way conversation is a vital part of doing this.
There is a veritable plethora of research into how parental engagement and involvement in a child’s education affects outcomes. It’s probably no surprise that the impact is overwhelmingly a positive one. In an off-cited DfE report (Desforges, 2003), a large-scale study into the impact of parental involvement and support on child achievement, spanning socioeconomic classes and ethnic backgrounds, one of the key findings was:
“Parental involvement in the form of ‘at-home good parenting’ has a significant positive effect on children’s achievement and adjustment even after all other factors shaping attainment have been taken out of the equation. In the primary age range the impact caused by different levels of parental involvement is much bigger than differences associated with variations in the quality of schools. The scale of the impact is evident across all social classes and all ethnic groups.”
Unpacking that wordy academic quote, this means that when parents are involved and engaged in their education, students, no matter their background, tend to do better. In a report by the Institute of Education, (2007), it was observed that “hard to reach” parents also felt that the school was hard to reach. Parents also felt that engagement was easier in primary than it was in secondary. So not only is there strong evidence to suggest that parental involvement is “one of the key factors in securing higher student achievement and sustained school performance” (Harris and Chrispeel, 2006), the onus is not solely on the parent – the school must also drive meaningful parental engagement.
Ticks the Ofsted box
Not only does having an effective parental engagement strategy have a positive effect on attainment, attendance and achievement, it also ticks a big box with every school’s least favourite “O” word – Ofsted. Official Ofsted guidelines state that in a “Good” school, “The school has highly successful strategies for engaging with parents and carers to benefit pupils, for example, family learning workshops are regularly organised to help parents and carers to become even more effectively involved in their children’s learning.” Well there you go – you heard it from the inspectors themselves – in order to reach the upper echelons of the Ofsted ratings, you must have a strong parental engagement strategy in place. And this doesn’t mean just having one – it means effectively executing one which directly benefits both parents and most importantly pupils. Get parental engagement right as part of your wider school strategy and you could be looking at a “Good” or even an “Outstanding”.
So there are some very compelling reasons to up your parental engagement game – but how do you go about doing this? To find out how Weduc could help you implement and execute a comprehensive parental engagement strategy – get in touch.