EEF publishes new review of evidence on parental engagement

review of evidence published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) today shows how parental engagement can have a positive effect on a child’s academic attainment – regardless of age or socio-economic status.

The review, conducted by the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter and supported the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula, also highlights areas of promise for how schools and early years settings can support parents in a way that improves their children’s learning.

These include family literacy interventions to help boost younger children’s learning and summer reading programmes that improve school-aged children’s learning, particularly among families from more disadvantaged backgrounds.

The review was commissioned by the EEF to support its recently-published guidance report, Working with Parents to Support Learning, offering primary and secondary schools four practical recommendations to help parents support their child’s learning at home. .

An over-arching recommendation focuses on the importance of schools planning and monitoring parental engagement activities to get the most out of them. Other recommendations look at the best ways to communicate with parents, and strategies for supporting learning at home.

The report – which is free to download here – also includes guidance on tailoring school communications to encourage parental engagement and offering more intensive support where needed.

Sir Kevan Collins, EEF chief executive, comments:

We know that levels of parental engagement are consistently associated with children’s academic outcomes. We also know that a parent’s job, education and income matters less to their child’s development than what they actually do with them.

Schools and parents have a shared interest in doing the best for their children. However, it is sometimes difficult to know where to start. Some parents feel anxious about reading to their children, particularly if they struggle with their own literacy skills. Others worry that they can’t afford the same sort of books or trips out that other families can. Schools also do not always know how they can work with families most effectively.

Our guidance report, underpinned by this review, is designed to offer schools actionable and evidence-based recommendations they can begin to implement right away, ensuring both schools and families are working together effectively to improve young people’s outcomes.