Is Home School Connect (HSC) based on early childhood learning and parental engagement research findings?
Yes. HSC has been specifically founded to empower parents to support children’s early learning at home, in a way that is complementary to how and what children learn in school. There is a particular focus on the early years (reading & maths) to ensure children get off to a good start in school and also prevent attainment gaps from occurring in the first place.
There is strong evidence that family interest and participation in a child’s early learning has a significant impact upon academic progress. In fact, evidence suggests that in the primary years, parental/home factors are even more salient and powerful than school influences. HSC therefore embraces the concept of shared responsibility for a child’s learning between home and school.
What the parental engagement research tells us
As stated in ‘Parental Engagement – How to make a real difference’ Gross(2013), pg. 3, succinctly summarises the 10 key parental engagement findings:
- Children of parents who take an active interest in their education make greater progress than other children.
- In the primary years, family influences have a more powerful effect on children’s attainment and progress than school factors.
- Parental engagement has a significant effect throughout a child’s school years
- Gains in pupil achievement stemming from parental engagement initiatives tend to be permanent.
- In schools with matched intakes, those with strong parental engagement tend to do best – they have higher attainment and fewer problems with behaviour.
- Levels of parental engagement are linked to socio-economic status, but in parenting, it is what you do, not who you are that counts. Even where families live in poverty, children can achieve if their parents are involved and committed to their child’s education.
- The home-based factors that make the strongest contribution to the child’s achievement in the primary years include the extent of one-to-one interaction between parent and child, and parental involvement in educational activities and outings with their child.
- Parents’ aspirations for their children strongly predict their achievement, as does parents’ self-efficacy (the belief that they can make a difference to their own lives through their own actions and efforts).
- Levels of parental engagement vary, with mothers more likely to be involved than fathers, a general decline in involvement as the child gets older, and significant differences between ethnic groups. Black/Black British and Asian/Asian British parents are often more likely than White parents to want to be involved in their child’s education and to feel that it is extremely important to help with homework.
- Schools can make a difference. One study showed that if families who were initially uninvolved with their child’s education became more involved as a result of the school’s efforts, there were marked improvements in the child’s literacy. “
How can HSC and schools make a difference?
HSC (reading & maths) packs can both increase a parents’ self-efficacy in helping children learn at home as well as increase parental engagement in children’s learning.
HSC also very much views schools as partners in this process – as partners to empower parents to help their children learn at home. Where packs have been bought in for children and their families (e.g. using pupil premium funding), London based schools may wish to couple this with (Educational Psychologist or Teacher led) training for parents on how to get the most out of the materials and supporting website.
The Education Endowment Foundation’s Early Years Toolkit also advocates parental engagement initiatives as a worthwhile activity for schools to develop, particularly where schools actively empower parents to support children’s early learning and development.
Gross, J. (2013). Parental Engagement. How to make a real difference. Oxford School Improvement.