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Perceptions of Parental Engagement are Changing

Perceptions of parental engagement are changing.

The world has woken up to the idea that parental engagement in learning is critical to children’s learning outcomes- a key concept we’ve been championing for years here at Learning Ladders – it’s what we do and why the system was built!

There is no question that for generations, parents have shown that they are invested in supporting their child’s education; hearing groups of children read, accompanying school trips and helping 30 over-excited children into costumes for the annual nativity. But do parents want to be more involved in the learning support for their children in the same way? In fact, they do.

Research commissioned by Learning Ladders overwhelmingly concluded that parents want to be given more information about what their child is learning and techniques to support them.

This is encouraging when considered along with evidence that shows parental engagement is one of the key factors in academic achievement for Primary aged children.

So how can schools move towards more impactful parental engagement?

What successful schools have in common is the decision to make parental engagement a whole school approach. If parental engagement is a one-off bolt on, creating a big fanfare that is quickly forgotten about, it is highly unlikely to take off. It needs to be ongoing, in granular detail, without overloading staff with work.

Crucially, this parental engagement starts in the classroom. Conditions must be created for conversations about learning to take place between pupils and teachers. Children who are not used to talking about their learning with teachers in school will not be able to articulate learning with adults at home.

When pupils are explicitly aware of the learning objectives they are working towards they take co-ownership of their learning. Technology (such as the micropublishing technology used to create our pupil booklets) can be used to create engaging resources to be shared with pupils as a springboard for conversations about learning.

Success also relies on sharing this focussed, granular information frequently with parents. As someone who has sat on both sides of the desk as parent and teacher, it is questionable whether the biannual, five minute rotation of a traditional parent’s evening is still cutting it. Particularly when this feedback is time limited, infrequent and flustering.

We found success in automating this process as part of our multi-step solution involving; a bespoke curriculum for every school embedded in their own context, incorporation of school assessment policies and recording of rich formative data that is shared automatically and frequently with parents.

However, we know that in Primary, sharing objectives is not enough. If parents do not have access to

specific support to explain what a child needs to do to meet these learning objectives and help their child when they are stuck, learning stops. It’s not enough for adults to supervise tasks, they need to be able to scaffold and support learning.

The solution: Upskill parents at scale, on demand, remotely.

Cue our help articles, (written by qualified teachers and translatable in over 100 languages) which simultaneously upskill parents and unlocks terminology for every part of the curriculum. After all, how often have parents heard the terms ‘chunking’, or ‘phonemes’ in their daily lives? Help articles can be accessed through objectives shared or in multiple homework types shared with pupils and parents remotely, creating optimum conditions for successful parental engagement in children’s learning.

Without this insight into strategies used to support learning, parents are open to confusing their child with conflicting and contradicting strategies that almost certainly lead to disengaged pupils, frustrated parents and overwhelmed teachers.

Whatever the vision for your school’s parental engagement, it has never been a better time to consider how technology can help embed parental engagement in your school to create the best possible learning outcomes for children.

Feel free to get in touch if you want to know more!

If you would like to know more about our parent portal, click here.

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The author

Ex-teacher, Matt Koster-Marcon, is the Founding CEO of Learning Ladders Education - the next generation TLP (Teaching and Learning Platform) built specifically for Primary schools, and recently voted the ‘Best Whole School Aid for Learning, Teaching and Assessment’ at the global BETT Awards. Matt is also the Chair of EdTech at the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), co-founder of the EdTech Evidence Group which brings together leading EdTech companies committed to proving impact. He has 2 young children and lives in London.

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