Teaching School News
Working with Parents to Support Children’s Learning
15 January 2019
The new EEF Guidance Report, Working with Parents to Support Children’s Learning, has been eagerly anticipated. Engaging parents and developing effective working relationships with them can be critical in ensuring the very best outcomes for all children. Sir Kevan Collins writes in his foreword to the report:
“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.”
This Guidance Report offers four evidence-based recommendations for primary and secondary schools:
Recommendation 1: Critically review how you work with parents
The theme that underpins the report is that it is essential that we review and monitor any activities we use to encourage parental engagement to ensure they are having the intended outcomes. This is particularly important as the evidence base in this area is not as strong as the EEF would like.
Recommendation 2: Provide strategies to support learning at home
As a parent myself, I often find it challenging to know how best to support my daughter’s learning at home, and in particular how to align this support with what she is doing at school. This section of the report provides clear strategies that schools can share with parents to support this process. Different age groups need different approaches; with younger children shared activities such as reading together are appropriate, but with older children an interest in your children’s learning is more important than direct involvement. There is also an interesting section on homework and how parents can be pivotal in creating the right environment for effective routines, but that we need to be cautious about direct parental assistance.
Recommendation 3: Tailor school communications to encourage positive dialogue
The key message here is be positive, personalise and link to learning, with research evidence suggesting that communication can have a positive impact on a range of outcomes such as attainment and attendance. Text messaging, in particular, is shown to bean approach with promise, but thought needs to be given to the frequency,timing and targeting of the messages.
Recommendation 4: Offer more sustained and intensive support where needed
The report clearly identifies that for some families more intensive approaches are needed and that these can be associated with larger learning gains. However, these strategies can be significantly more difficult to implement.
For us, what shines through in this report is that an optimistic and positive approach to working with parents, combined with a strategic approach, can really pay dividends.
The full Guidance Report can be found at https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/tools/guidance-reports/working-with-parents-to-support-childrens-learning
We are confident at Redborne that we already undertake much excellent work in this field . Key staff are now busily reading their way through the EEF report to see how we can further learn and develop.
English and Media Centre respond to Ofsted’s new Framework
A fascinating blog by the EMC has focused on Ofsted’s briefing on their new framework, in particular its implications for the teaching of literacy in general and English in particular. The blog can be found here:
Sarah King, Research Lead , is currently investigating the issues of literacy, and its impact on examination success, examining in particular the different types of reading students encounter, and the demands on their writing skills. Details of training opportunities and workshops will follow.