When parents are actively involved in their child’s education, they perform better at school, in fact:
"The effect of parental engagement over a student's school career is the equivalent of adding and extra two to three years to that student's education."
John Hattie, Visible Learning 2008
Most schools want a good relationship with parents and families, and just like you, your child’s teacher wants them to be happy at school – because happy children learn.
Now is the perfect time to connect, build a really effective home-school partnership, and work together with the school to support your child’s learning.
If you attended a school welcome meeting, you’ll have some idea of what to expect, but if you couldn’t make it or it seems like a long time ago now, make an appointment to meet your child’s teacher in the first couple of weeks. They’ll be able to let you know what’s expected of your child (and you) over the first few months. It’s much easier to raise and sort out any concerns when you have a good relationship with school staff.
The school will let you know all the ways you can communicate with them and how they send out information to parents, but check for regular communications like:
- Forms and letters coming home in your child’s book bag.
- Updates on the website (there may be a page for each year group or class).
- Newsletters, invitations to parents’ evenings and school trip information coming via email.
- Apps and social media groups for the school and/or your child’s class.
Good communication goes two ways, so when you need to be in touch with the school it helps if you:
- Label envelopes clearly with your child’s name, class, and what’s inside (letter for their teacher, permission slip for school trip, lunch money etc.)
- If you need to speak to your child’s teacher, make an appointment rather than trying to catch them at the door before or after school. You’ll have a much more productive chat.
- Go along to any meetings the teacher holds to update parents on what children will be learning that term. If you can’t make it, ask for notes or a handout.
- Attend parents’ evenings, and do a bit of advance preparation to get the best out of your allotted time.
The school will let you know all the ways you can get involved at school and what you can do to support your child’s learning at home. If it wasn’t talked about at the welcome meeting, check the school website, look out for a note in your child’s book bag, ask in the school office, or drop them an email.
There’s clear evidence that children do better when their parents are involved in their learning at home or school. Your child will also benefit from any extra activities and equipment provided by parents who volunteer at school or raise funds. Being actively involved brings you closer to your child’s education and the school.
Supporting the school doesn’t need to take up a lot of your time, so parents who work shouldn’t be put off:
- If the school has an active PTA, go along to a meeting to find out what the group does and how you can take part. PTAs make a valuable contribution to the school. Activities vary but typically they’ll organise social events and clubs for the kids and raise funds to buy extra equipment for the school.
- Any offer of practical help is welcomed in schools. Parents often help with learning activities, listening to children read, helping out on trips or providing an extra pair of hands to paint a wall or clear a vegetable plot.
- If you want to have a say on school matters, ask if there’s a parent council and how you can get involved – if there isn’t, here's how to get a parent voice group started.
By taking part in some way, you’ll be a positive influence on your child’s education. When children see us involved in their school and learning, it encourages them to do their best.
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