Engaging with Families

Supporting Schools to raise attainment and close the inequity gap

Printed from : www.engagingwithfamilies.co.uk


Parental Engagement - What Works?


  • Forming a school-family partnership, particularly one that is effectively situated within the context of community agents of children’s wellbeing, requires shared goals, shared contributions, and shared accountability between parents and schools.
  • Parental engagement is not confined to the visible presence and actions of parents and family within the physical space of schools –for many families may find direct engagement with schools intimidating or difficult – but still participate extensively in their children’s learning at home and in the community.
  • Considering the educational experiences and outcomes of children as a shared endeavour between families and schools requires better understanding the models, mechanisms, and services that can help narrow the attainment gap amongst Scottish children and young people.  This gap in achievement is experienced asymmetrically, with disadvantaged pupils more commonly assessed as at the lower levels of attainment. 
  • There is no singular model or programme of family engagement guaranteed to narrow the achievement gap and increase the involvement of all children’s parents.  Every school must adapt the strategies and interventions included in this resource to the needs of their own community, school, pupils, and parents and carers.


The following sections provide you with an overview of the most recent evidence-based interventions, services and strategies for engaging families. Based on studies that were published between 2008 and 2014 it has a particular focus on closing the inequity gap in attainment and achievement for disadvantaged pupils.  

Six key themes were selected as being particularly significant when engaging with vulnerable families. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and further evidence will be added to the resource in due course.

Geographically, the review used both UK based studies and evaluations as well as those of an international nature where lessons were considered to be transferable. The evidence review was conducted by the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh.