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Improving parent engagement in learning

Overview

As reflected in our strategic plan, we are committed to working in partnership with parents, communities and industry to help children and young people learn, develop and prepare for life after school.

To fulfil this vision, we are working on ways to better support parent engagement in learning – that is the role parents play in enabling learning activities and experiences outside of the classroom.

We are exploring how to:

  • Provide leadership for parent engagement at all levels of the education system, both inside and outside a school setting.
  • Build 3-way learning partnerships between parents, educators and students by providing the systems, resources, and tools educators need to involve parents in their child’s learning.

We aim to develop an approach that can be applied system-wide, yet can be tailored and adapted as children and young people transition through different stages of their education, from birth to 18 years. 

To achieve this we need to identify the existing strengths and opportunities within our system, with a view to developing a best-practice, evidence-based approach to parent engagement.

Findings from this work will also support existing priority areas for the department, such as the Aboriginal Education Strategy, and the transition of Year 7 to High School.

Benefits for children and young people 

Supporting parent engagement is important because children learn from the moment they are born. Parents are children’s first teachers, and continue to have a strong influence on their children’s learning as they proceed through the school system.

Research shows that when a parent is involved in their child’s learning their child has a greater chance of success.

Parent engagement in learning also helps improve attendance, provides children with stronger social skills, supports them to complete their schooling, and improves their behaviour.

How we’re going about this

Audit of current activity

We have undertaken an audit of current activity across the department to identify any gaps and opportunities for collaborative work.

Research 

We have undertaken extensive research to determine what best-practice in parent engagement support looks like and to identify any common themes.

Parent focus groups

In June 2020 we held 8 parent focus groups. The focus groups included parents and carers from diverse backgrounds, including CALD and Aboriginal communities.

Focus groups were used to collect information about the experiences parents and carers have engaging in their child’s learning.

Case studies

We have begun working with selected children’s centres, preschools and schools on a number of case studies. The case studies examine parent engagement in learning activity, and aim to gather insight and expertise from our staff on what is working well and what can further assist them.

In some instances case studies will include students to make sure the student voice is captured and considered. 

Stakeholder engagement

We are engaging with parent associations, leaders associations and a range of other groups to gather insights about what will work to support parents.

Next steps 

We aim to have an approach to parent engagement drafted by the end of term 3, 2020.

After this, we will test our policy ideas with parents and staff.

Our goal is to finalise our approach to parent-engagement by the end of 2020.

We encourage participation. If you have any thoughts or ideas you would like to share please send us an email Education.EngagingParents [at] sa.gov.au.

Visit this page regularly for updates about the project.

Contact

Parent engagement in learning project team

EmailEducation.EngagingParents [at] sa.gov.au