A new paper published in Educational Review points to evidence that for children aged four to 19, parental involvement can make a ‘significant difference’ in the levels of motivation and overall performance.
Lead author Janet Goodall, from the University of Bath, says early years settings can play a key role in getting good habits established in early years. ‘Nurseries have much better practices than schools because they see the parents much more often,’ she said.
‘Not all parents have experience of living in a home where education is valued and therefore might not know how to promote learning in the home.’
For schools to achieve an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating, they must now show how engagement with parents is having a positive effect on children’s learning. ‘In too many cases a perception exists that the responsibility of children’s learning lies solely …or largely with the school,’ Ms Goodall said. ‘This perception needs to shift to one where parents and schools better share this responsibility.’
To parents, Ms Goodall emphasises the importance of letting children know that education is important and fostering a sense of wonder that children of a young age have.
‘Children often think that adults know everything. Take time to talk, let them know that you’re still learning, let them see you read,’ she said.
‘It’s what happens in the home and the car, and everywhere else that children are during the 75 per cent of their time when they are not in school, that makes the difference.
‘Just think about the amount of learning that can be done when you are in the supermarket.’
In response to the study, the Welsh Government has published a new toolkit to help schools get parents involved in their children’s education.