Getting parents actively involved in their child’s education can lead to pupils who are more confident, engaged and even more organised when it comes to their own learning. Studies have also shown that parental involvement can lead to measurable and quantifiable successes, such as improved attendance rates and higher test scores, for example.
In this blog, we discuss some advantages and benefits of engaged parents, and how they can contribute to their child’s academic achievement and success. Putting an actionable plan in place could help senior leadership teams and staff maximise these positive effects to benefit pupils, teachers, and the wider school community.
What are the Effects of Parents on Academic Achievement?
When parents are engaged, invested and interested in their child’s education, there are many benefits for both pupils and your school. Here is a list of some of the positive effects that parents can have on academic achievement:
- Improve Morale – not just for each child, but also that of teachers, support staff and parents themselves. Getting the parent, teacher and child to work together towards the same academic or personal goal creates an environment of collaboration and positive teamwork.
When everyone is working together, parents can help to motivate their child who can then feed back to a parent they know is interested in what they’ve been getting up to. This can help improve the child’s mood in the classroom and the teacher can continue this encouragement with positive reinforcement.
- Meeting Goals – you and your school will have your own academic expectations for each pupil, but it’s important to remember that parents do too. Getting a strong understanding of what each parent wants for their child and working together to help support the child to achieve these goals, whether educational or more personal, will help contribute to their academic success.
- Passion for Learning – parents who spend a lot of time helping their child with their schoolwork or reading with them can help to develop a lifelong love of learning and education. Parents asking questions about the school can help increase each child’s interest and excitement about learning.
Parents and teachers who are excited and motivated about education can help each child to discover and develop a particular passion or interest. This passion can give each child the drive to succeed by helping them discover who they are through their own interests and passions.
- Better Organisation – parents can help with their child’s organisational skills. Whether it’s getting their school bag packed and ready with what they’ll need each day, organising homework or study schedules, or compiling reading lists.
Parents can also play a vital role in getting their child prepared both physically and mentally for the school day. Motivating them by asking what they’ll be learning about or what they’re looking forward to will help make sure their child has a positive mindset and is ready to learn each day.
- Children Who Thrive – with a supportive network that includes both parents and school staff working together, children are more likely to feel more confident, comfortable and content. With a team of people backing them and helping them towards academic success, they will be more likely to raise any issues they might have and feel more secure in the knowledge that their academic achievement is recognised and celebrated.
- Improved Test Scores – without the need to put too much emphasis on tests and scores, parents can help children improve simply by being encouraging. Parents can help their child understand that a single test score is not reflective of their academic performance as a whole, but can help to provide a better understanding of where they might need more help and support.
There is always room for improvement and parents can remind children to not give up, but to just keep trying their best. This kind of active encouragement will then have a positive impact on future test scores.
- Improved Attendance – parents are responsible for getting their child to school on time every day. You can support them by having a clear attendance policy and communicating frequently with parents about any issues they may have.
Parents can make the school run fun for children by playing games, singing songs or journeying with friends. Keep this up by providing a warm welcome when each child comes to school.
Having a good attendance record will give each child a greater chance of achieving academic success. Sticking to a solid routine will help as children grow older, more independent and start to organise themselves more.
- Higher Confidence and Self-Esteem – being able to discuss schoolwork with parents outside the classroom is an important way for pupils to process what they’ve learned. They might even be teaching their parents something new!
This can help give each child a great sense of self-worth and confidence in themselves and their abilities. Summarising what they’ve learned in the day is great for seeing how much they have understood a topic and parents can facilitate this with an informal and open discussion at home.
- Developing and Understanding Personality – input from parents can help teachers and support staff understand the best way to support each child. Parents can encourage their child to pursue their academic interests and also support them in areas they don’t feel as comfortable or invested.
Sharing this information with teachers and support staff can be an invaluable way to support each child. Both parents and teachers have a hand in watching and helping each child’s personality form and grow.
- Homework Help – with help from the school, parents can be more prepared to assist their child with homework and understand what their child will be learning about and when. Parents provide vital assistance in ensuring each child is completing their homework and submitting it on time.
They will also be able to check that their child is comfortable and has a good understanding of what they are learning about. They can then relay this information to the school.
How to Support Parents to Have a Positive Effect on Academic Achievement
Here are a few ways that headteachers, senior leadership team members, teachers and support staff can build on and add to the positive effects parents can have on academic achievement:
- Communication – create a whole-school communications policy that is simple and effective. Establishing good two-way communication can help you build on the positive effects of parents on academic achievement.
- Involve Parents When Setting Academic Goals/Targets – Parents can help their child set goals that mirror those that are set in the classroom. These could be for completing homework, learning about something new or time spent practising important maths or spelling skills, for example.
- Positive Reinforcement and Praise – Celebrating Successes – Parents can also really help to celebrate the academic successes that their child makes. Whether big, long term goals or smaller day-to-day successes, pupils will really flourish under encouragement both inside and outside the classroom.
- Provide Support – give parents plenty of support so that they can help their child with homework and organisation. Offer face to face meetings with teachers to discuss each child’s progress.
Schools can advise parents on studying at home; how much time should be spent each day and on the weekend, for example. Getting into a good routine will help pupils throughout their school journey.
Emphasise Positivity to Avoid Parents Having Any Negative Effects on Academic Achievement
Make sure that parents and teachers talk to each other regularly and not only when there is a problem. This way pupils can see that good behaviour is rewarded and celebrated, and parents are not only getting involved with the school when there is an issue.
A study by Fan in 2001 suggested that pupils who have parents with high aspirations for their academic success generally perform better. Parents who are supportive and positive about school and homework can help impress upon children the importance of education and encourage a positive approach to learning.
Encourage parents to think big when it comes to their child’s academic performance. This doesn’t mean putting unnecessary pressure on pupils, but simply being encouraging and supportive, and letting them know that hard work will bring positive rewards in their education and in life.
Try to stress to parents that any home learning or completing of homework tasks doesn’t have to be too strict and regimented. While organisation and a certain level of discipline can be good, parents may want to remind their child that learning is fun and a positive thing that will benefit them their whole lives, and not something that simply has to be done.
If everyone is working together towards the same goals, communicating regularly and supporting each other, then your school should be able to see and measure the positive benefits of the effects of parents on academic achievement. Parents contribute to the success of your school and can help you develop an environment in which your pupils flourish.
At Learning Ladders we believe that parents have a significant influence on pupils’ attitudes towards education. We have developed the Parent Portal to help your school connect and support parents. Take a look for an easy and effective way to communicate with and help engage parents.