Teachers meet round a table.

Auditing Parental Engagement with your Whole Staff Team.

Nov 25, 2022

Including all staff members in auditing your parental engagement work is a really valuable activity. Teachers often live outside the community your school serves, but support staff, such as receptionists, teaching assistants and lunchtime assistants, often live in the local area and are part of the local community. They may have children or relatives who attend the school. They are often more frequently approached when parents have questions about school life than teaching or management staff and can be brilliant ambassadors for the school.

Be clear about what you aim to achieve in the session. We suggest the following:

  • Explore why engaging parents in their child's learning and development is important.
  • Share what we currently do that is most effective.
  • Introduce a strategic overview of parental engagement
  • Discuss key tips and strategies on how to develop a whole school approach to parental engagement
  • Develop an action plan

Include some structured reflection time in small groups. Make sure all voices have a chance to be heard. Think about WHY you should engage parents in their child's learning and school life before considering WHAT and HOW.

We recommend reviewing this report by the EEF, which examines the best available research to offer schools and teachers four recommendations to support parental engagement in children's learning. Evidence from their Teaching and Learning Toolkit suggests that effective parental engagement can lead to learning gains of +3 months over a year.

The EEF guidance report is designed to support primary and secondary schools to work with parents, particularly those from disadvantaged homes. It offers four clear and actionable recommendations, which they hope will help an evidence-informed approach.

The four recommendations are:

  • Critically review how you work with parents
  • Provide practical strategies to support learning at home
  • Tailor school communications to encourage positive dialogue about learning
  • Offer more sustained and intensive support where needed

Make sure all staff get time to review their engagement activities through the lens of these recommendations. An honest and open whole-school review can really help to join the dots as well as identify any gaps you may have!

When thinking about how parents are being engaged, look at what you are asking of parents. Remember that they can provide essential support in the following ways:

  • As role models
  • In passing on attitudes to school, learning and education
  • Praising, encouraging and providing boundaries
  • Providing a positive home environment that supports their children's development and learning, e.g. sleep / screen time / enabling independent learning
  • Specifically supporting homework and learning at home
  • Sharing their knowledge and understanding of their child and their community

Use the PEN Audit tools to map how you are engaging parents in learning within each key stage and throughout the year. These can be found in the PEN Toolkits. If you don't already have access to this helpful set of resources, you can find them on our website.

After using the Audit tools, use the information you have gathered to develop an action plan and strategy.

When working with Parents, remember to 'do with' and not 'do to'! Use the PEN model of Model, Mentor, Coach and remember the golden rule… Parents will engage in their own way and in their own time. The challenge is to have a variety of approaches and opportunities.

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