Last week, along with 20 organisations including Save the Children and School-Home Support we wrote to Gavin Williamson about the importance of supporting parents as part of the long-term Covid recovery plan. This formed part of a broader movement by the Fair Education Alliance to influence the Covid recovery agenda.
IFS data shows that schools are only responsible for 14% of the attainment gap but 49% is attributable to parental education and their attitude towards education. However, current Covid recovery policies are focused on schools only and they are being asked to do too much on their own. We need solutions that reach beyond the school building so we can create an education system, rather than a schooling system, that works for all.
What is needed?
Parental engagement in learning prioritised ahead of parental involvement in schooling
Parental engagement is more than involving parents in school life and asking them to help with homework. The real difference to children’s progress happens in the small, everyday interactions between parent and child and this is what schools, the sector and government policy should be encouraging first and foremost.
Increased parent voice in the education system
Parents should be seen as equal contributors and not recipients of change. ParentKind reported that 56% of parents would like a say in their child’s education at government level but their voices are not currently heard.
Focus explicitly on parents facing disadvantage
Solutions should be designed for parents facing disadvantage to ensure all children benefit. Policy decisions which treat parents as a homogenous group can lead to approaches that only work for some parents, unintentionally widening the disadvantage gap.
What are we asking you to do?
Share this letter and message with your network!
There are a few small changes you can make today that will have a lasting change on children’s life chances:
If you are a school leader…
Rethink your homework policy to ensure parental engagement is at the heart of it and is supporting those families who face disadvantage.
If you are a teacher…
Talk to your school’s leadership team about prioritising parental engagement and evaluate how you communicate with parents.
If you work for an organisation…
Promote the importance of parental engagement and parent voice in your work with schools, families and policy makers. Contact us to hear more about our Parental Engagement Forum.
Together, we can ensure that parents are put at the heart of a fairer education system for the future!