Parental engagement differs from the parental involvement which is common in many schools – events like parent evenings to discuss school work, invitations to come to school events and help handing out the juice at sports matches. These things are very good at involving some parents in the school community and offering one-way information to all parents but they rarely improve student attainment.
What does help all students to do better happens in homes which value the child - their strengths and their weaknesses – and values education and learning. Conversation is at the heart of positive parental engagement. Parents who have wide ranging conversation with their student children as well as discussions about what they are learning in school, offering support where necessary, are the kind of people who are fully parentally engaged.
Teachers’ work tirelessly, but parents have to take up the challenge to be their child’s co-educator if all students are to reach their full potential. As much as 85 per cent of students’ waking hours are spent outside formal lessons when you take account of all the time during the working day, weekends and holidays that is not spent in class. Parents can leave everything to school but their children will miss out on thousands of hours of potential learning that could be going on at home.
International research suggests that a parent who is actively and consistently engaged in their child can add the equivalent of two to three years of extra education to that student over a school career. The children of engaged parents do better at school.
GEMS believes passionately in helping all our students reach their full potential. We see our parents as central to that aspiration and seek to give them the information, tools and resources to help their children be the best they can be.