On this page you can find information about:
engaging with parents and carers in a meaningful way
engaging harder-to-reach parents and carers
If parents and carers are actively involved in their children’s learning and activities at school, the more likely the child or young person is to thrive – both in academic performance and in general wellbeing.
Evidence from the Education Endowment Foundation’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit suggests that effective parental engagement can lead to learning gains of over 3 months in the course of a year.
School and college leaders and teachers are experts at working with parents and carers and have valuable opportunities to engage with them every day.
When families, teachers and support staff work together, children and young people can be better supported to reach their full potential and get back on track when problems arise.
Engaging with parents and carers
When thinking about how to meaningfully engage with the parents and carers in your school or college community, it is important to consider the following:
Meetings and communication - it can help to have an open-door policy. This tells parents and carers that they can speak to staff about any concerns they may have. It also encourages frequent and regular contact if it is needed or wanted.
It can also be helpful to have a key member of staff available to prevent parents and carers from repeating their query to multiply members of staff.
Leadership and management style - are parents and carers considered in decision-making? See
School curriculum - are parents and carers aware of how they can best support their child or young person’s learning, both in school and at home?
Continuing professional development - are staff and parents and carers given the opportunity to learn about mental health and wellbeing?
Stakeholders - are there any other stakeholders or resources that you could identify to support parents and carers more effectively? For example, the local education authority, faith groups, community organisations or national helplines and websites?
Engaging harder-to-reach parents and carers
It may be useful for schools and colleges to think in terms of a differentiated approach to parental engagement, and to have a strategy for how to engage and work with families and children with more complex needs.
This means creating a plan for how to engage specifically with those parents and carers that are harder to reach.
It may involve therapeutic interventions such as a school or college-based therapist, or a specialist approach like the multi-family groups in schools model that’s used by both the Pears Family School (which is the alternative provision school that we founded and support).
Engaging parents and carers whose children are at risk of exclusion is both important and challenging. Multi-family groups can reduce problematic behaviours at school and at home, improve emotional wellbeing, and support families to rediscover and learn skills and strengths. This often results in children performing better emotionally, socially, and academically.
How to practise cultural exchange in schools
Learn how to facilitate cultural exchange in schools and what things you need to consider.
Our Mentally Healthy Schools team have put together information about what schools can do to strengthen parental engagement
Brenda McHugh, co-founder of the Pears Family School and Consultant Psychotherapist at the Anna Freud Centre, offers advice on engaging with parents and carers.