The successful introduction of Parental Engagement usually requires a concept change that transforms the attitudes of some of the stakeholders and key players. The process of concept transformation requires time and planning to allow for different rates of absorption. It is more effective when schools appreciate that their range of stakeholders represents the equivalent of a mixed ability group and input is designed to be flexible enough to meet individual needs.
SLT and Governors
We recommend that as a starting point the SLT and Governors develop a thorough understanding of Parental Engagement so that they can throw their full weight behind the initiative, using their knowledge to better design, and help deliver, a whole-school staff development programme.
The courses we provide do not differentiate between members of school staff. Schools that invest solely in preparing teachers for the
introduction of Parental Engagement have often had their efforts thwarted by ill-judged comments by a school receptionist. All adults who work within the school environment should understand why Parental Engagement is important, what the expectations are, and how they as individuals can contribute to the vision through their own role. Courses should be focused and time-limited to ensure a successful introduction. Provision should also be made to ensure that the development of the same concept is included in the induction process for all new members of staff.
All teachers are expected to differentiate their lessons to meet the individual needs of the pupils they teach. We advocate that schools also consider different methods of communicating information to parents. This can include the usual written communication and in-house courses and information sessions, and also more informal online video clips or podcasts. Parental input should emphasise the range of expectations from minimum to maximum.
Pupils of course should be the central focus of Parental Engagement. They need to know why their parents are being ‘engaged’ and they should be made aware of the many benefits that they will derive from the initiative. They also have a very important role to play in the process and there is every reason to ensure that they have a positive attitude towards successful implementation.