Parent Engagement

Parental engagement in learning and schooling

What is Parent Engagement?

Parent engagement is being positively involved and active in your child’s learning. Your attitudes, values and behaviours can positively influence your child’s education outcomes.

We know that parents, families and carers are some of the most important influences on a child’s education. When you are positively engaged in your child’s education, they are more likely to attend and perform better at school.

Effective parent and family engagement in education is more than just participation in school meetings and helping with fundraising, it is actively engaging with your child’s learning, both at home and at school. When schools and families work together, children do better and stay in school longer.

You can support your child to get the most out of their schooling. The earlier you become engaged, the better it is for your children.

Why is parent engagement important?

Parent engagement is associated with improvements across a range of indicators, including:

  • better education outcomes
  • enhanced engagement with school work
  • more regular school attendance
  • better behaviour
  • and increased social skills.

Parent engagement is one of the four pillars of the Australian Government’s Students First reform agenda for schools.

How you can help your child do well at school

While it’s important to stay informed and be involved in school activities where possible, there are lots of things you can do at home which can help your child to do better at school:

  • Have high yet achievable expectations of your child.
  • Talk regularly about school and the value of learning.
  • Encourage positive attitudes and respect for school and teachers.
  • Model the behaviours you would like to see in your child.

Other things you can do which have also been shown to have a positive impact are to:

  • Read out loud with your child and listen to your child read out loud.
  • Talk and ask about what they are learning.
  • Ask what was and was not fun at school.
  • Help them to develop strong work habits.

One of the most effective ways parents and families can help children to do better at school is to make sure they go to school every day. School attendance has a major influence on educational outcomes.  Students who attend school regularly are more likely to achieve better results at school and are more likely to complete their schooling.

Visit the Department of Education’s new Parent Engagement in Learning webpage for more tips and information to help you get involved in your child’s learning.

What is the Australian Government doing to support parent engagement?

There are a number of ways we are working to increase parent engagement in education.

Making My School better

The Australian Government has developed Making My School better to improve the My School website. It has been informed by an independent review of My School, and is designed to ensure that My School supports parental and community engagement and improves school accountability.

Research into parent engagement

In the 2014-15 Budget, the Government committed $4 million over four years (2014-15 to 2017-18) to the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) to undertake research to support the Australian Government’s parent engagement agenda.  This research will identify the best ways the Government can help parents to support their child to engage with learning.  This investment will provide a solid research and evidence base for the Government to build parent engagement policies that will improve the educational outcomes of all Australian students.

Home-based support for disadvantaged families

The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) is a two-year home-based parenting and early childhood enrichment program aimed at building the confidence and skills of parents and carers in disadvantaged communities.

In the 2014-15 Budget HIPPY was expanded to operate in 100 locations across Australian from 2015, targeting around 4000 children (aged four years) each year.

Parent engagement in the curriculum

The Government is committed to improving parent engagement in the curriculum. The final report of the Australian Curriculum Review recommended education authorities provide new tools, such as plain English information on websites, to help parents understand what their child is learning at school.

On 12 December 2014 Australian education ministers considered the final report and its recommendations. The Australian Government will work with the states, territories and the non-government school sector to implement the recommendations.

The Government has provided funding to Education Services Australia to bring together a range of free, quality-assured Australian-Curriculum aligned digital tools and resources that can be used by parents to support learning in the home. These resources will help parents reinforce what their children are learning at school, particularly in areas such as literacy and numeracy, and will be available later in 2016.

Involving parents in school decision-making

The Australian Government is responding to the growing demand for greater school autonomy through the $70 million Independent Public Schools initiative.

The Independent Public Schools initiative will help schools build strong communities, give schools greater local decision making powers and increase the engagement of parents, community groups, business and industry in the life and operation of the school.

To help parents get involved in their school community, a useful online Guide for Parents on School Boards and School Councils is available to help explain some of the ways to get involved in their child’s school and the different school systems in their state or territory.

Parents and community representatives are integral members of school communities and bring a different perspective to teachers and principals. Greater autonomy encourages schools to engage with parents and community members as the diversity of views, skills and experience is beneficial in school decision-making.