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Download: A school governance guide to successfully engaging with parents and carers

Ensuring stakeholder voices are heard is a core function of governance and it is therefore imperative that schools open the channels of communication to ensure that parents can be and feel consulted on when it comes to school matters. Doing this effectively can not only prevent building tensions between parents and the board, but can also facilitate good decision making.

Together, NGA and Parentkind (formally PTA UK) have combined their extensive knowledge on this topic to release an updated piece of guidance that emphasises the importance of parental engagement and provides practical tips for governing boards on conducting an open-two way conversation with parents about their child’s school.Parental engagement: A guide for governing boards

Parents are key stakeholders and their involvement in schools has a major influence on their children's achievement. This guidance aims to help governors and trustees understand why parents are so important and how the school can effectively engage them.

In order to govern effectively, boards need to know their schools: this is one of NGA’s eight elements of effective governance. Engaging with parents is an excellent way for governors and trustees to get to know their school; its strengths, weaknesses and its community. A governing board will want to solicit the views of parents to inform its strategic planning and give parents the opportunity to help shape their child’s education, as well as being reflective about school performance and its own effectiveness. A governing board should not have all its information provided by school leaders: Ofsted recommends three sources of evidence and NGA supports this approach.

Governing boards should do everything they can to ensure parents’ views are gathered and acted upon appropriately and that the results are reported. This does not mean the governing board always gathers the information itself but it may mean that for some purposes it will be governors and trustees who directly engage with parents.

It can be tricky to establish and maintain a relationship with parents and we very much want to learn from schools that are doing this well. So if you have a story to tell, please do get in touch with our research team. The National Governance Association aims to improve the quality of school governance by supporting, advising and training governors, trustees and clerks.

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