Parents Matter: The Research

From behaviour and attendance to learning outcomes, research shows the benefits of engaging the whole school community.

Are parents the most under-used resource in your school?

From behaviour and attendance to learning outcomes, research shows the benefits of engaging the whole school community.

What can’t you achieve when everyone is pulling in the same direction?

What are the benefits of parental participation?

John Hattie’s seminal 2008 study, Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement found that the effect of parental engagement over a student’s school career is equivalent to adding two or three years to that student’s education”. 

When parents are involved in their education, children do better on a wide range of measures.

These positive effects include:

  • Better behaviour
  • More confidence and greater self-esteem
  • Higher attendance rates
  • A lower risk of exclusion
  • More enthusiasm about learning
  • Better results

When schools and parents listen to each other and work together, they have a really positive impact on attainment and student well-being. This is why it is so important that schools work in partnership with their parents, from a child’s first days at school right through to when they leave. 

Parental engagement is a powerful lever for raising achievement in schools. When parents and teachers work together to improve learning, the gains in achievement are significant.

Do Parents Know they Matter (Harris & Goodall/​University of Warwick 2007)

What does our parent research say?

Teachers want to work with parents, and parents want to contribute to school life. 

But how do you connect the dots? 

That’s the question that inspires our annual survey of over 3,000 parents. The responses are always illuminating, with the key findings informing our schools resources and training. 

Our annual Parent Voice Report survey gives schools a greater sense of what really matters to parents, including how they feel their child’s school performs with parental participation.

Our 2021 report showed that 85% of parents want to play an active role in their child’s education. This figure has remained high across all past research and suggests parents’ interest in meaningful participation with their child’s schooling is near universal.

The top barrier to parents getting more involved in school life remains time (36%), followed by simply not being asked (28%) and being unsure what they have to offer (25%).

Giving parents a voice — a say on school matters and involvement in decision-making on issues that affect them — enables schools to meet the needs of the communities they serve more effectively. Most school policies have a direct impact on families and so to ensure maximum effectiveness it’s beneficial for schools to take into consideration the views of all families within their community.