As a national charity giving those with a parenting role a voice in education and representing parent views at local, regional and national government levels, Parentkind recognises the essential part that governing boards play in engaging parents with school life and education, to support better outcomes.
We are thrilled to collaborate with NGA the National Governance Association on the new guidance Engaging with parents and carers, a guide for governing boards. The guidance gives crucial advice on effective governance when it comes to engaging with parents and carers. It presents stakeholder engagement as integral to school success and parents as key stakeholders who offer valuable insights, additions and benefits.
Through our ongoing research, garnering parent views and championing parent voice, Parentkind has been able to demonstrate that parents want to play an active role in their children’s education and make a meaningful contribution to school life. Parents want to have more of a say in decision-making, feel listened to, have their views considered and influence change. Harnessing parent voice and parent power represents huge benefits for everyone. There is a well-evidenced link that effective parental participation leads to improved behaviour, attendance and educational outcomes for children. Parental participation can act as a powerful tool for social mobility, expanding the life chances of disadvantaged pupils. The ripple effect of benefits are felt more widely too - parental participation builds trust, creates a shared vision and culture, heightens understanding and aspiration, increases staff retention and builds a bridge with the local community.
Although engaging with parents is essential to effective governance and we understand that parents as stakeholders have a right to be part of the accountability structure of schools, our research has found that there is a mixed picture on parent and carer awareness of school governors and trustees, the role they play and how parents can raise issues and give their views. This fact, along with everyone’s desire to continue to capitalise and build momentum on parents’ deepened investment in schools throughout the pandemic, presents an opportunity for governing boards to reach out to their parent communities, raise visibility and create the engagement needed to build a strong approach.
We all understand and agree on the importance of parental participation, but having the methods and tools to put this into action is imperative. This guidance is a chance to share the case for engagement but also to empower governors and trustees with the methods to overcome barriers and build greater connections and opportunities with the parent body. Parentkind’s Blueprint for Parent-Friendly Schools is fundamental to this and is the ideal solution for schools to adopt. The guidance lays out the Blueprint’s five key drivers, ideas and methods for engagement and signposts further available resources and training.
With this resource and support, governors and trustees can consider how to effectively implement a policy and strategy in their schools. In so doing, they will reap the enormous benefits that a diverse, included and engaged parent voice will bring to education, to school and community life and to meeting the full potential of all young people.