While most teachers will see the benefits for parental participation in their school, 48% admit they don’t know who was responsible in their school to promote or support it, say researchers.

The findings from a PTA UK survey reveal that nearly all teachers questioned said that parents have a positive impact and just 2% said there is no impact.

The survey questioned more than 1,300 teachers from secondary and primary schools in England as part of their annual teachers’ survey.

The findings reveal that two in three teachers say that improving relationships and building trust between teachers and parents is the biggest single benefit for engagement.

Teachers also say that the positive impacts include the improving of academic achievement as well as pupil behaviour and reducing absenteeism.

Parental input helps their school achieve better decisions

A third of teachers also say that parental input helps their school achieve better decisions.

But less than 20% of teachers said their school had any form of parental engagement in operation.

In addition, 48% of teachers admit to not knowing who is responsible in their school for parental engagement.

The acting chief executive of PTA UK, Michelle Doyle Wildman, said their research highlights teacher support for involving parents in their school.

She said: “By under investing in this area, schools are missing a trick to build trust and achieve more with the communities they serve.”

Teachers should be supported in maximising the benefits of parental involvement

She added that teachers should be supported in maximising the benefits of parental involvement and there should be a culture of engagement and a commitment from a school’s senior leadership team as well as the trustees and governors.

She said: “Schools can make strides towards establishing themselves as parent-friendly.”

The Association of School and College Leaders’ general secretary, Geoff Barton, said he would be surprised if colleges and schools did not have a range of ways in engaging with parents and carers.

He added that the survey highlights that the profession may not always communicate these routes to teachers which include how to run a parents’ evening, how teachers should conduct themselves with parents and how to write reports.

Among the other reasons given for supporting parental involvement is to boost involvement for a shared school culture and ethos.

School did not have a written parental engagement plan

However, 19% of those who responded to the survey said their school did not have a written parental engagement plan and 24% said their school had measures for tracking parental engagement in place.

Also, 8% of teachers said they were undertaking any form of continuing professional development (CPD) on the subject of parental engagement.

When asked about who was responsible within the school for parental engagement, 61% of classroom teachers said they didn’t know who was responsible, compared with 17% of senior team leaders.

Ms Doyle Wildman said: “Teachers should be supported to embrace parental engagement and know the role they can play in addressing it and also be clear over who is leading this vital area of work in their school.”

 

More information

The PTA UK report, Teacher Survey 2017, can be found on their website.