Best Practice

'Structured conversations' to engage parents

Quality parent/carer engagement has a positive impact on pupil attainment. But it is about more than just ‘getting on’ with them and requires deeper, more meaningful links. Professor Sonia Blandford discusses the potential of 'structured conversations'

Good relationships between schools and parents can make a major contribution to raising children’s attainment.

Parents’ evenings, a quick chat at the school gates at home time, and parents getting involved as school helpers counts for a lot in developing these links, but this sort of relationship-building often won’t work with a sizeable minority of parents and carers, especially those with children who are classified as vulnerable and disadvantaged.

In many cases, these parents will stay away from the school gate because they don’t want the engagement. They may fear and distrust school because of their own experiences with education. They may have challenging home lives and working patterns which prevent them from engaging with the school, even if they want to. 

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