Schools are failing to help parents get involved in their child’s education, according to a General Teaching Council (GTC) report.
The report, Engaging Parents in their Children’s Learning, found many parents felt distant from their child’s school life, particularly at secondary school level.
Many schools fail to pass on basic information about the curriculum or offer support to improve parents’ academic skills, the research found.
The researchers say that:
- Parents thought that it was important to be involved in their children’s learning.
- They were mixed in their opinions about how much they wanted to be involved apart from generally helping with homework and attending the formal parent-teacher consultations provided by the school.
- Once parents had understood the concept of ‘engagement’ in their child’s learning they thought it would be generally very positive for their child. It was thought likely to have a positive impact on achievement; increase confidence, motivation and enthusiasm for learning; and broaden their horizons and encourage them to be more responsive to, and accepting of, ideas from other people.
- Parents also thought that by engaging with their child’s learning they gained a better understanding of their child’s abilities and interests; understood their child’s weaknesses; gained an insight into any other issues that may be occurring in their child’s life; and would be better able to tailor social activities to their child’s interests. It also reinforced the value of learning, for both the child and parent alike.
They say they found that not all parents wanted to be involved in their children’s learning, but:
Parents often expressed a desire to know more about the curriculum that their child was following, or the teaching methods that were being used. This was particularly so for maths and science, for which teaching methods were thought to have changed considerably since they were at school. However, very few parents had been offered this opportunity by schools.
Where parents do want to be involved by schools they suggested the following:
- information about their child’s progress;
- information about parenting; and
- information about dealing with bullying.