Evidence

Engaging parents and carers with their child's education leads to raised attainment, improved behaviour and school attendance. Find out more by browsing reports and publications relating to parental engagement.

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Quick stats

41% of parents cite work commitments as the main barrier to engaging with their child's learning.
Review of best practice in parental engagement - Department for Education 2010

94% of parents were confident that their involvement would help their children at school.
Review of best practice in parental engagement - Department for Education 2010

33% of parents felt confident in helping with homework.
Review of best practice in parental engagement - Department for Education 2010

38% of parents reported they did not understand their children's school work.
Review of best practice in parental engagement - Department for Education 2010

Quick quotes

Meaningful parental engagement is helping schools unlock the potential of vulnerable and disadvantaged children Professor Sonia Blandford, Founder of Achievement for All
Parents are a child’s first and most enduring educators, and their influence cannot be overestimated.
Independent Review of Mathematics teaching in Early Years Settings and Primary Schools, Sir Peter Williams 2008
Perhaps the single most important thing that parents can do to help their children with maths is to pass on a positive attitude.
Tanya Byron, Clinical Psychologist
Students' motivation to learn maths is higher among students whose parents discuss with them how mathematics can be applied to everyday life or who obtain mathematics materials for them.
The Programme for International Student Assessment 2013
Parents who were viewed as ‘hard to reach’ often viewed the school as ‘hard to reach’.
Professor Alma Harris and Dr Jane Goodall
Fathers’ involvement in their children’s learning is associated with better outcomes, higher attainment, more positive attitudes and better behaviour.
Asmussen and Weizel

Evidence summaries

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Family Learning Works (2013)

The Inquiry into Family Learning was launched in October 2012 to gather new evidence of the impact of family learning, to develop new thinking and to influence public policy. Based on the evidence gathered today NIACE published their Family Learning Works report.

Read the full article on the National Numeracy website

Too young to fail (2013)

This report by Save the Children shows that, through no fault of their own, poorer children as young as seven are on course for poorer life chances.

Read the full article on the National Numeracy website

Number sense in infancy predicts mathematical abilities in childhood (2013)

The authors provide evidence that pre-verbal number sense in infancy predicts mathematical abilities in preschool-aged children.

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PISA 2012 Vol 3.6: The role of families in shaping students’ engagement, drive, and self-beliefs (2013)

This chapter explores the different ways in which home environment can contribute to students’ engagement at school, their levels of drive and motivation and their beliefs about themselves as mathematics learners.

Read the full article on the National Numeracy website

The Intergenerational Transfer of Numeracy Skills (2013)

The purpose of this report is to investigate the intergenerational transmission of numeracy, that is, the relationship between parent and child numeracy skills. This study builds on earlier work by de Coulon et al (2009) which assessed the impact of parents’ basic skills in literacy and maths on their children’s cognitive outcomes.

Read the full article on the National Numeracy website

Parental Engagement in Early Literacy and Numeracy Activities and Student Achievement in PIRLS/TIMSS (2013)

The role parents play in their children’s education can have far-reaching consequences for children’s socio-emotional development, school readiness, school adjustment, and academic performance.

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Numeracy at Home: Involving Parents in Maths Education (2012)

Parental involvement in the form of 'at-home' interest and support has a major influence on pupils’ educational outcomes and attitudes. This article provides some examples of mathematics education projects, initiatives and interventions as documented in the literature, and discusses in detail two initiatives undertaken with the parents of two Australian schools.

Read the full article on the National Numeracy website

Parents' Beliefs about Children's Maths Development and Children's Participation in Maths Activities (2012)

This US study investigated the relationship between parents’ beliefs about how to foster young children’s maths development and children’s participation in maths activities, finding a significant relationship between the two. The study focused mainly on Chinese-American and Caucasian families, comparing cultural differences between the two.

Read the full article on the National Numeracy website

The Role of Aspirations, Attitudes and Behaviour in Closing the Educational Attainment Gap (2012)

The relationship between poverty and educational attainment is not fully understood. How can the educational attainment gap be narrowed? Which interventions have successfully improved educational outcomes and which require more supporting evidence?

Read the full article on the National Numeracy website

'Let's read them a story!' The Parent Factor in Education (2012)

New findings from PISA show that parental involvement in education is pivotal for the success of children throughout their school years and beyond.

Read the full article on the National Numeracy website

How to involve hard-to-reach parents – encouraging meaningful parental involvement with schools (2011)

This summary provides a crucial insight into the problems faced by some parents, and gives a toolkit of creative strategies to help schools improve the relationship.

Read the full article on the National Numeracy website

Engaging parents in raising achievement – do parents know they matter? (2007)

This report explores the impact of different forms of parental engagement upon pupil achievement and behaviour.

Read the full article on the National Numeracy website

Does Introducing Parents to Learning to Learn Techniques have a Positive Effect on Pupils’ Achievement? (2004)

Working with Campaign for Learning and the University of Newcastle, and based at St Meriadoc CofE Nursery and Infant School, Cornwall, Stephens and Pooley aimed to discover whether involving parents and introducing them to various Learning to Learn (L2L) approaches would develop their children’s self-esteem and resilience as learners and so raise standards.

Read the full article on the National Numeracy website

The Impact of Parental Involvement, Parental Support and Family Education on Pupil Achievements and Adjustment: A Literature Review (2003)

It is widely recognised that if pupils are to maximise their potential from schooling they will need the full support of their parents. It is anticipated that parents should play a role not only in the promotion of their own children’s achievements but more broadly in school improvement and the democratisation of school governance. This review looks at current research and projects within the areas of parental involvement, support, and family education.

Read the full article on the National Numeracy website

Parents Helping Their Children With Mathematics (2002)

This research found that many more parents are interested in their children's mathematics than teachers realise. They are helping their children with mathematics, 'behind closed doors' as it were, away from the view of schools and teachers. It is called 'hidden help' with mathematics, and it is not talked about much or discussed with school.

Read about this on the author's website

Closing the Achievement Gap: The Critical Importance of Parental Engagement

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Additional reports

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Parental Engagement - How to make a real difference. Oxford School Improvement. (2012)

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Schools and parents. Ofsted. (2011)

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Evaluating the Evidence: Fathers, families and children. King's College London. (2010)

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Review of best practice in parental engagement. Department for Education. (2010)

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The Impact of Parental Involvement on Children's Education. Department for Children, Schools and Families. (2008)

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Review of Mathematics Teaching in Early Years Settings and Primary Schools. Department for Children, Schools and Families. (2008)

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Parents as partners in their children's learning. One Scotland. (2006)

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Parental Involvement in Education. BMRB Social Research, Department for Education and Skills. (2002)

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Article on Parental Engagement - "Parents matter too" (2015)