This assignment will look at the importance of parental involvement in schools and their child’s education and two of the main areas concerning communication between parents and schools. Firstly, this report asks the question is parental involvement important? Secondly, school reports are considered with an analysis of their effectiveness as a means of communication and thirdly parents’ evenings as a forum for discussion and encouraging parental involvement. This report is going to explore the perceived problems with the current systems with a review of relevant literature and a brief look at what can be done to encourage parents to become more involved in their child’s education.
Is parental involvement important?
Parental involvement includes supporting the pupils progress at home by creating a positive “learning environment” and enforcing school policies (DfES, 2003). DfES (2003) report highlights many benefits of parental involvement with surprising results such as
“Parental involvement in a child’s schooling was a more powerful force than other family background indicators such as social class, family size and level of parental education”.
There is a further body of evidence which suggests that parental involvement “increases test scores” they also indicate that factors regarding the family are “11 times as influential as school factors” when considering a students performance in school (Callison , 2004).
Hurley (2005) discusses that support by parents is of paramount importance and a
“Crucial determinant of children’s educational performance”.
Also Grolnick & Slowiaczek (1994) have indicated that parental involvement can have an affect on schooling and motivation for students with the result of students’ increased feeling of competence and control of their academic successes.
Thus schools need to ensure parental involvement, as this appears to be a key factor in a child’s success. One study showed that 72% of all parents surveyed indicated that they “wanted more involvement” in their child’s education (DfES, 2003). The suggestion is therefore, that parents want and schools need to encourage more involvement to promote a child’s academic achievement and wellbeing. Gestwicki (2007) suggests there are four key areas to successful partnerships which assist parental involvement these are, reciprocated communication, boost learning in the home and within school, creating a system of two-way support and allowing mutual decisions to be made.
Power and Clark (2000) highlights that in relation to parents’ evenings “there was almost universal criticism” that parents felt that the meetings were unproductive in terms of finding out about their child’s progress and inadequate as a “forum for working together”. A recent welsh survey indicated that 63% of parents experienced a feeling of being judged in a similar way to their children at parents evenings, and also it was indicated that if their children had a less favourable report it reflected on them as parents, other similar negative indicators were also highlighted (Equazen, 2010). Evidently parents’ evenings have questionable success and improved procedures are required to ensure parents feel satisfied with the experience and that they are valued as equals and given plenty of time to prepare any questions to receive useful information (Power & Clark, 2000). An improved image and procedure for parents’ evenings would encourage parents to attend and make them feel valued facilitators in their child’s educational progress.
School reports have changed substantially over the years from one worded reports to a more beneficial system of descriptions of pupils’ progress. Despite improvements, parents have a more recent problem with regards to generalised comments as some teachers use comment banks. The increasing uses of these off the peg