Parental involvement and academic achievement: what you need to know

One of the ongoing challenges that many schools face is properly engaging parents in both a child’s learning journey and also the wider school community and its activities. The traditional parents evening and open days aside, in an always-on, always-connected world, parents and schools alike are demanding more transparency and more meaningful involvement and engagement when it comes to pupils. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy for many schools to get internal buy-in for spending more time and budget on parental engagement, and secondly to get some more “challenging” parents to actually engage.

We’ve talked previously on the blog about the benefits that increased parental engagement can bring to school promotion and general standards across the school, but there’s one area that it’s well-documented to have a significant impact on – academic achievement.

Here are some key stats and facts you should know around parental involvement and raising academic achievement.

The stats

“The Impact of Parental Involvement on Children’s Education” report, developed by the Department for Education in 2008, summarises a number of key statistics and findings which support a focus on parental involvement to raise attainment and achievement levels.

  • 72% of parents said they wanted more involvement in their children’s education

  • Parental involvement in early years education equated with better outcomes in terms of cognitive development

  • Any level of parental involvement has a positive impact on a child’s achievement regardless of background, social class and family size

  • Parental behaviour and home-learning activities have shown to have more of an effect on achievement than school quality

  • A child’s ability on entry to the school is the most important factor in predicting Key Stage 2 results – which can be massively influenced by home-learning prior to attending school

  • For boys, parental behaviour and family relationships have a greater influence on their achievement at Key Stage 2

  • Participation in a family learning programme led to a 50% increase in pupils progressing to Further Education

  • Pupils who had taken part in literacy programmes outside of school were found to have better classroom behaviour, significant improvements in reading, writing, and numeracy

There are also some challenges from a parental perspective which can act as a barrier to increased involvement with their child’s education. These include:

  • Work commitments – 44% of parents said they felt that their job was barrier to them getting more involved in their child’s education

  • Childcare issues and time constraints – 13% said they had less time to spend with their children on educational activities due to dealing with other childcare or commitments

  • Their own difficulties with literacy and numeracy skills lead to a significant disadvantage when supporting their child with developing the same skills

What can schools do?

It’s clear from the research that parents want to be involved, and that there are real, tangible benefits to them having full visibility of their child’s progress at school and being able to plug this into activity at home. But how can schools support parents with this to ensure them and their child are as successful a team as possible?

Make it easy

This should surely be the first rule of anything which involves human input or interaction – it needs to be as easy, and effortless as possible. Schools should utilise the tools and technology available to them to make sharing progress and communicating with parents seamless. A parental engagement app or platform which can integrate with all other communication channels is an ideal way to facilitate this. Using in-app messaging capabilities also adds a degree of familiarity to the experience – many parents are now using apps like Facebook or WhatsApp as their primary communication tool, so they’ll be used to communicating in this way and much more likely to adapt and adopt.

Make it stick

In order to really see the impact of meaningful parental involvement and engagement on your school’s attainment levels, you need an actionable and measurable strategy. An individual or team need to specifically own this strategy and be accountable for it in order to ensure its success. Effectiveness should be consistently measured and the approach adjusted to make sure you’re making the most of the tools and resources you have available to you. We’ve posted a blog post previously with guidance on developing a good parental engagement policy or strategy, which you can read here.

Make it efficient

One of the advantages of using technology to support parental engagement is that it presents the opportunity to streamline and even automate some processes and tasks that would otherwise be time-consuming and a drain on resource. A lot of your communication to parents currently may very well be paper-based – not only is this not budget friendly, it’s not kind to the environment, and you can send much more engaging and meaningful content using multimedia in-app messaging then you can with letters or newsletters. Being able to schedule messages, automate responses and permission form processes frees up time for your admin staff to focus on delivering more meaningful support to the learning experience and further improving parental engagement within your institution.

Do you need help or advice on embedding better parental engagement in your school? Weduc isn’t just about technology – we have years of experience and a strong background in education, and we can help you build a strategy that will take parental engagement to the next level. Just get in touch to chat to one of our experts.