There has been 40 years of research into parental engagement. A report done in 2008 for the UK government by Janet Goodall and Alma Harris was titled “Do Parents know they matter”?  This is an interesting question.  Do you, as parents know that you can make a difference to not only your child’s academic achievement but to their overall wellbeing by supporting their learning in the home.

Janet Goodall has put together a 6-point model of elements of parental engagement that have been found to be effective to support children’s learning.  These elements all work together and are underpinned by effective parenting practices.

Authoritative parenting

  1. Authoritative parenting combines clear and consistent boundaries with practices that encourages your child to move towards autonomy and able to exercise self-control.
  2. Learning in the home
  • expressing high educational aspirations
  • teaching values in the home- decide what these values are
  • making time and space to read and do homework- routines
  • everyday activities – discussions while doing household tasks or driving home
  1. Beginning engagement with learning early
  • Begin Early- start when they are small
  • Kids need structure – regular bedtime, mealtimes
  • The greater structure the greater they are able to cooperate with others, follow rules and norms, and the higher their academic development (Harris & Goodall, 2008)
  • make it part of everyday activities-read, sing songs and nursery rhymes, take them on visits, regular opportunities to play with friends at home
  1. Stay engaged throughout school
  • although feeling less in touch with child’s learning as they grow older usually due to the increasing difficulty of the curriculum – it is even more important to Discuss the future, have high expectations and realistic boundaries, talk about school activities, check on progress at school (Clinton & Hattie, 2013)
  1. Holding and passing on high expectations
  • value education highly and pass that on to your kids
  • what parents say and think about education has a direct effect on students’ own beliefs and actions (Harris and Goodall, 2008)
  • have realistic academic expectations for them
  1. Active Interest
  • involvement with homework, attending parent teacher conferences, be involved in school
  • it is more than checking homework, it includes linking what is being learned at school to other things and having set structures for study.

Have a great year. 

For more from Cathy Quinn head to her webpage.

To learn more about effective parental engagement visit our Parents as Partners page.

Parents as Partners


Clinton, J. & Hattie, J., (2013). New Zealand students’ perceptions of parental involvement in learning and schooling. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 33(3), 324-337. DOI: 10.1080/02188791.2013.786679

Goodall, J. (2013). Parental engagement to support children’s learning: a six point model, School Leadership & Management: Formerly School Organisation, 33(2), 133-150, DOI: 10.1080/13632434.2012.724668

Harris, A. & J. Goodall (2008). Do Parents Know They Matter? Engaging All Parents in Learning. Educational Research 50(3): pp. 277 – 289.