Blueprint pilot project in Doncaster Opportunity Area

We are currently trialling our Blueprint for Parent-Friendly Schools in selected schools within the Doncaster Opportunity Area.

Why create a Blueprint for Parent-Friendly Schools?

There is a lot of great practice on parental engagement and a solid evidence base that shows its positive impact on academic outcomes for children. However, consultative parent groups are not mandatory in schools in England, and each school has its own strategy for engaging parents. There is no unified or consistent approach. By creating the Blueprint for Parent-Friendly Schools, we condensed best practice into five central hallmarks that schools can focus on to truly maximise the benefits of engaging their parent communities. The framework is adaptable to each school's individual circumstances, but the underlying principles remain the same.

What's happened so far?

1. Consultation

We asked education stakeholders for their views on the Blueprint, inviting feedback over the course of several months. We were delighted that so many organisations and individuals who share our passion for education and parent voice took the time and effort to offer their expert opinion on our proposals. We were even more pleased that the feedback was universally positive.

You can download the draft of the Blueprint for Parent-Friendly Schools here.

2. Pilot project in Doncaster

In 2019, Parentkind was awarded a contract by Doncaster Opportunity Area to deliver a pilot project help schools get more mums and dads more involved in their child’s learning. This has seen us introduce our Blueprint for Parent-Friendly Schools to 14 primary and 7 secondary schools so that they can capture the impact of increased parental engagement on pupil attendance rates in schools with previously high levels of absenteeism. As the project progresses, we'll assess the needs of each school and develop practical strategies that they can put in place to help overcome barriers to engagement and offer their parent communities different routes to getting involved in their child's education. Using this approach, schools can embed actions and formalise a strategy that can easily be continued once the project has finished.

The project will run throughout the academic year from September 2019 to July 2020.

What happens next?

Once the project has finished, we will publish our findings in a full report on this page, to demonstrate the effect of positive parental engagement. We expect to show that increased parental engagement has led to an overall reduction in persistent pupil absence rates.

What have we said about the Blueprint and the pilot project?

Kerry-Jane Packman, Development and Memberships Director at Parentkind said: “Our aim is to create parental engagement strategies that teachers and school leaders can easily make part of their school day to improve attendance and reduce exclusions. There is plenty of research to show that parents are a real force for good when it comes to their child’s education and learning. When they have regular and meaningful conversations with their children, set high aspirations for their futures and demonstrate their own interest and support of learning at home and school, the impact can be significant.”

Charlotte Bown, Head of Delivery at the Doncaster Opportunity Area, added: “The Doncaster Opportunity Area is pleased that Parentkind will be delivering this work to support schools to improve their parental engagement strategies. Our programme focuses on improving social mobility and we know that engaging with families will be key to this.”

For more details about the Blueprint or the pilot project, contact us at blueprint@parentkind.org.uk.

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