A new report released today by PTA UK reveals that teachers in England overwhelmingly (98%) agree parents have a positive impact on their school, yet less than a fifth (19%) say their school has any formal parental engagement plan in place.
PTA UK conducted the Teacher Survey 2017 among teachers to assess their views on the benefits of, and approaches to, parental engagement in our schools.
Key findings included:
- Overall, more than two-thirds (68%) of respondents say building trust and improving relationships between parents and teachers is the biggest benefit of parental engagement
- Six out of 10 say it improves academic achievement (62%) and pupil behaviour (59%)
- Over half (53%) believe it helps to develop a shared school ethos and culture
- More than four out of 10 (44%) believe it reduces absenteeism
- A third (32%) believe that when parent views are shared, it has a positive impact on school decision-making.
According to the findings, however, school strategies for parental engagement were somewhat lacking with:
- Less than a fifth (19%) of respondents saying their school had a written parental engagement plan
- Barely a quarter (24%) saying their school had some measures in place to track parental engagement
- Less than one in 10 (8%) reported undertaking any continuing professional development (CPD) training on parental engagement
- And nearly half (48%) of respondents not knowing who within their school was responsible for parental engagement. This was particularly true for classroom teachers (61%) compared to senior leaders (17%) and more so in secondary schools (57%) than primary schools (41%).
Commenting on the findings, Michelle Doyle Wildman, PTA UK's Acting CEO, said:
"The research shows that although teachers acknowledge the value of engaging and involving parents, only a small number report that their school has any clear process in place to make parental engagement part of their day-to-day work and overall improvement plans.
"Schools are, by under investing in this area, missing a trick to achieve more and build trust with the communities they serve.
"Teachers need to be supported to embrace parental engagement, know what role they can play in addressing it and be clear about who in their school is leading this vital area of work. By training staff to embrace a culture of engagement, and ensuring commitment from senior leadership teams, governors and trustees, our schools can make strides towards better home-school partnerships and truly establish themselves as parent-friendly."
The research was based on a survey conducted as part of NFER's Teachers' Omnibus survey between 5-10 May 2017, and completed by 1,339 practicing teachers from 1,170 schools in the maintained sector in England.
Read the full report, Teacher Survey 2017, Teachers' perception and practice of parental engagement in school.