Course hits the right note: 96+% 'Good' or 'Outstanding' with its evidence-based approach.
Feedback from the attendees of Babcock's course Managing Effective Parental Engagement, held at Epsom Race Course on Wednesday 22 October 2014, shows that the course was a great success.
Engagement in Education were contacted by Babcock's earlier this year and asked to provide not only the keynote address and specific workshops, but also to help with the design of the whole event. The invitation came just at the right time as we had turned down all invitations over the previous 4 years in order to concentrate on our involvement in a series of key research programmes. The fact that these were now reaching a successful conclusion enabled us to provide up-to-the-minute evidence-based input that over 96% of the delegates thought was good or outstanding.
As a theme for his keynote, Alan Cowley, CEO of Engagement in Education, spoke about the need for all within education to understand the difference between Parental Engagement and Parental Involvement. For the majority of the delegates this was the first occasion that they had seen the research evidence that proves that schools keep getting it wrong when it comes to the approach they adopt in their relationship with their parent community. Whilst provision was made within the structure of the day's course for school leaders to hear what is considered to be good practice in other schools, Alan used his keynote to throw down the gauntlet to delegates, challenging the impact of traditional approaches which are increasingly found to be wanting.
"All too often, schools make the mistake of believing that they need to provide what turns out to be a select number of parents with a blend of social and fund-raising activities, and administrative/management roles. Whilst these may provide a small amount of additional support for the school, all the evidence points to the fact that the real impact on pupil achievement and attainment comes about when schools help all parents support their children's learning in the home, through 'regular, home discussion'. This is something that all parents are capable of delivering - regardless of their own educational background, social class, income, or ethnicity. The message has to get through that it is positive engagement in their own child's school experience (Parental Engagement) that is important, not their involvement with wider school activities (Parental Involvement) that has the potential to raise the achievement of all pupils by as much as 25% each year. Schools can no longer afford to ignore the evidence."
"Of course, what busy school leaders just want to know is the answer to the question 'What works?' and unfortunately government websites tend to offer advice in general terms - highlighting guidelines that can indeed be applied to the implementation of any initiative in a school. That is why we have invested the last 4 years researching and developing a sustainable and affordable solution that schools can adopt knowing that it will make a real difference. News of what schools leaders involved in the research have called an 'inspirational approach', and 'remarkable for its simplicity', will follow in the New Year. Watch this space!"
"Raise the staff practices to support Parental Engagement."
"Develop and express our Vision and Values."
" Ensure staff and parents can share learning experiences which are fun to reduce fear on both sides."
" Looking at writing a parental engagement strategy."
" Act on this advice to provide a stimulus to encourage more parents to be engaged in various areas of
" Like Alan says, we obviously need a parental engagement programme/policy "
" I'm going to set up a staff meeting to challenge attitudes towards working with parents."
" We need to develop whole school approach to parental engagement."
" We need to change relationship between teachers and parents to a balanced partnership, and to
engage more parents in their children’s learning."
When busy school leaders give their valuable time to attend a course it's important that they are rewarded by being able to take away things that they can do in their schools to make a difference. Here are a few of the things they said they were taking away: