The start of this academic year has been like no other. In September we surveyed 5,000 parents to find out how they felt about supporting their child’s learning at home.
So, what did we learn?
1. Keep parents informed
We need to tell parents what their child is learning, and how they are learning it.
All parents want the best for their child and want to support them. As a sector, it is our job to remove the barriers that make it more difficult for some to engage in their child’s learning.
We found that 56% of parents said the reason they were unable to help with their child’s maths was because they did not know what they were learning. If you have ever tried asking a child what they really learnt at school today you will understand this!
As well as not knowing what topic their child is learning, over 1000 parents told us they do not know how the learning takes place in school.
So much in school has changed from when parents went to school themselves, especially when it comes to language and new methods. Even those confident in their numeracy, should not be expected to know what a bar model is or how to use an array.
2. Get parents involved
Only 54% of parents who had not yet started our programme reported that they were directly involved in their child’s maths homework.
Particularly in EYFS and primary stages, parents’ engagement in their child’s learning at home really supports the child’s development and provides the opportunity for children to explore in a new environment and share their understanding.
Through inclusive and carefully designed family-based activities, we can empower parents to take an active role in the child’s learning. For more strategies about how to get parents involved in their child’s learning, the Education Endowment Foundation has produced guidance.
3. Boost everyone’s confidence
Survey responses showed that differences in parents’ confidence supporting with Maths and English perhaps isn’t as wide as we anticipated.
We know that teachers do lots in school to help parents familiarise themselves with new methods in Maths. Nicol Winfield for example has run great Family Maths Masterclasses in Derby to support Primary school parents.
So, when we surveyed parents, we were particularly interested to find that confidence in supporting English was not much higher, just a 7% difference. With new approaches to phonics, and terms such as digraphs and phonemes to get our heads around, there is a lot more we can do to empower parents to support their child’s English too.