What is parent engagement?
Parent engagement in education is about parents and carers, schools and communities working together to ensure that every parent can play a positive role in their child's learning, school community, sport, and social life.
Parents and families play an important role in supporting their child's education. Research has shown that when schools and families work together, children do better, stay in school longer, are more engaged with their school work, go to school more regularly, behave better, and have better social skills. Parent engagement also results in longer term economic, social and emotional benefits.
Australian Government support
The Australian Government is committed to ensuring all Australian children can reach their potential so they can fully participate in the economic and social life of the community.
That's why the Australian Government supports several initiatives to help parents to be positively and actively involved in their child's learning at home and at school.
Learning Potential app
Learning Potential is a free app for parents, families, and carers packed with useful tips and inspiring ways parents can be more involved in their child's learning. It is designed to help parents be part of their child's learning and make the most of the time they spend together, from the high chair to high school.
Download Learning Potential for free from the App Store or Google Play.
Learning Potential Resources
Learning Potential Resources is a website for parents of primary school children that provides ideas, activities, games, and videos to help parents support their children with literacy and numeracy skills. It shows how to turn everyday activities—like cooking, watering the garden, or walking the dog—into fun and interactive learning opportunities. It supports the Australian Curriculum for primary school.
Parent engagement project
The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth's parent engagement project is developing and promoting a shared understanding of parent engagement and why it matters; encouraging a consistent and ongoing approach to the measurement of its impact on learning; and building and sharing evidence about 'what works'
Expansion of Learning for Life Program
The Australian Government has invested $48 million to expand The Smith Family's Learning for Life program to support an extra 24,000 disadvantaged students and their families.
The program provides financial, practical, and emotional support in over 90 disadvantaged communities across Australia, bringing the total number of students supported under the Learning for Life Program to some 56,000 by June 2020.
Support is provided in the early years of learning and continues through primary and high school to help students to stay at school, complete Year 12, (or equivalent) and successfully transition from school to work, or to further education and training.
The support provided though the Learning for Life program includes:
- financial assistance to pay for school supplies like a school uniform, shoes, textbooks and excursions
- support from a coordinator who works directly with the family and student
- access to out-of-school educational opportunities, including The Smith Family's learning and mentoring programs.
Family-School Partnerships Framework
The revised Family-School Partnerships Framework materials build on the 2008 Family-School Partnerships Framework and use current research to show that family engagement in education is fundamental to improving student learning. The Framework is for use by school leaders, teachers and school teams to support partnerships between schools and families.
National parent bodies
The Australian Government recognises the following parent bodies to give parents a voice in education policy development:
- the Australian Council of State School Organisations represents the interests of the parents, families and school communities attending government schools throughout Australia
- The Australian Parents' Council represents the views of parents in the non-government sector, including the both Catholic and independent sectors
- the Isolated Children's Parents' Association represents the interests of more than 4500 families living in isolated areas, advocating for rural and regional education issues from early childhood through to tertiary education
- the Catholic School Parents Australia (CSPA) represents parents of students in the Catholic schooling sector
The Australian Government has also provided funding to CSPA for cross-sectoral research in parent engagement in primary and secondary schools. The research, to be finalised by the end of 2018, will look at effective parent engagement practices and develop practical resources for schools to better engage parents.