It is so important for improving students attainment at school and getting parents to understand that their education is something they need to take some responsibility for as well.
Here are some ideas we’ve picked up to help your school improve parental engagement:
1. Communicate Often. Don’t limit your communication with parents to a yearly parents’ night and school reports sent home with the children. Update them frequently with your news, plans, events and ideas for the future.
2. Consult with Parents. Get feedback any way that you can – make them feel that their views are important and valued by the school.
3. Use Technology. Get in touch in ways that are tailored to parents circumstances. Not all parents can come into school due to work and time constraints so technology to your advantage to keep everyone updated.
4. Share Expertise and Information with Other Schools. Find out what others do and let them know when you find something that works well for you.
5. Offer Parents Support and Training. If you have identified problems in the school, set up friendly training sessions for parents to attend. Support individual parents who may be struggling – and don’t forget fathers!
6. Break Down Barriers. Not all parents have happy memories of their own school days. Make sure that the school is friendly and welcoming to parents. Give them different ways to get in touch to suit them and offer meetings in the later evenings or weekends if necessary. Look at the obstacles cited by parents in a recent study (below) and address them in your school.
7. Use Parents’ Expertise. you probably have some very talented and skilled parents – use them! Make them feel included by inviting them in to share their skills or knowledge to groups in the school. It will be good for parents and children.
8. Don’t Give Up on Hard-to-Reach Parents. Is there a language barrier? Time constraints? Whatever the problem try different methods to try to include them. Technology has many solutions as does a friendly face at the school gate!
9. Get Volunteers. Getting parents to help out in the classroom can be a great way to make them realise that they have responsibility for their children’s education and can’t just leave it all up to the school.
10. Have Fun! Have family game nights and other fun activities to get parents into school to see what goes on there and what the children do. Create a relaxed atmosphere to make the parents feel at ease with coming into school in future. Also – make sure everyone gets the invitations and no-one is left feeling ignored or left out.
Obstacles to Parental Engagement Cited by Parents
Not having enough time: 69%
Work hours make it difficult to attend: 66%
Not having child care for your children: 28%
The school is not interested in what you have to offer: 20%
A lack transportation or other difficulties getting to the school: 18%
You don’t feel welcome at the school: 16%
Not having translation services at events: 12%