A recent report, commissioned by Capita, has found that parental involvement is key to improving behaviour and results throughout a child’s schooling.
The ‘Harnessing Parent Power’ White Paper reports that when parents become more involved in their child’s school life, there is a real sense of improvement in the relationship between school, parent and pupil.
Steve Jackson, Head Teacher at The Blue School and one of the contributors to the report, said: “We know that one of the most influential variables in determining a student’s success in school is parental involvement and support. It’s true some people are disinclined to give it and some are unable to, but whatever the reason, our obligation and moral imperative is to support them as much as we can in doing it.”
The report states that, where good communication exists, schools find strong support for school life developing. Along with this, there is a greater willingness for parents and schools to tackle problems and misunderstandings at an early stage. Many schools have also reported improved levels of achievement and attendance, and more positive pupil attitudes and behaviour through the greater engagement of parents.
While the benefits of parental involvement are clear, schools may be unsure of how to develop it. Phil Neal, Director of SIMS for Capita, states: “Currently, schools are uncertain about how to proceed, and this is hampering efforts to use the support of parents to help improve standards. Government targets insist that by September 2010, all secondary schools will need to offer parents real-time access to information and data about their child, wherever they are and whenever they want – so time is of the essence.” Primary schools must meet this real-time requirement by 2012.
With theses deadlines looming, schools must now look at how they can ensure their commitment to parental involvement is fully realised. Harnessing Parent Power reveals that the resources required to give parents access to the information they need are already at schools’ fingertips. Using their management information system (MIS), schools can develop a learning gateway - a next generation learning platform. A learning gateway provides parents with real-time, online access to timetables, attendance information, behaviour logs, homework diaries, test results, correspondence, forums and surveys that will encourage ongoing communication and information sharing between the parent, pupil and school.
Phil Neal, director of SIMS for Capita, said: “We have seen that parental involvement benefits both the parent and the child – as they feel equally valued and supported in the education process. It benefits the school by creating strong family and home links, and ensures a supportive base from which pupils can learn.”
“While this may seem a big task for schools, the reality is that much of what they need to do can be done using their existing MIS system – creating reports, analysing data and using the internet to provide real-time information to parents.”
Steve Jackson, Head Teacher of The Blue School, adds: “It’s about making it easier for all parents, especially those who are hard to reach. It’s also about trying to close all the feedback loops so that things are less likely to go wrong.”
Ref: CAP368 Words 520 Date:13 June 2008
Notes to the editor:
• Both Phil Neal from Capita and Steve Jackson from The Blue School are available for interview on this topic, please see contact information below or call Catherine Lane to arrange an interview.
• For a copy of the white paper please contact Catherine Lane (details below) or visit http://www.sims.co.uk/parentpower
• Parental involvement in a child’s schooling between ages 7 and 16 is a more powerful force than family background, size of family and level of parental education (Feinstein, L & Symons, J. Oxford Economic papers, 51 (1999)).
Graham Cooper, Head of Marketing, Capita, Franklin Court, Priory Business Park, Cardington, Bedford, MK44 3JZ. Tel: 01234 838 080 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Jackson, Head Teacher, The Blue School, Tel: 01749 678 799, Email: SDJackson@educ.somerset.gov.uk
Catherine Lane, Catherine Lane PR, Floor, 145-157 St John Street, London, EC1V 4PY. Tel: 07092 864 764. Email: email@example.com
Capita is the leading supplier of information systems to the education sector, providing a range of software and services to schools and local authorities to help raise standards and reduce administration. Capita’s SIMS is the most popular management information system for schools and is used every day by more than 22,000 educational establishments in the UK.
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