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Why is parent engagement important?

Families are the first educators of their children and they continue to influence their children’s learning and development during the school years and long afterwards (Family-School Partnerships Framework).

When parents are involved in their children’s education at home, they do better in school. And when parents are involved in school, children go farther in school and the schools they go to are better (Henderson & Berla, 1994, p.15).

The Family-School Partnerships Framework (2008)[1] emphasises that schools need to recognise the primary role of the family in education and advocates for families and schools to work together in partnership.

The Framework argues that effective schools have high levels of parental and community involvement which can be related to improved student learning, attendance and behaviour, regardless of the social or cultural background of the family. Family engagement is therefore seen as part of the core business of schools.

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians also acknowledges the benefits of family, school and community partnerships, and expresses a commitment on the part of Australian governments to:
…(work) with all school sectors to ensure that schools engage young Australians, parents, carers, families, other education and training providers, business and the broader community to support students’ progress through schooling, and to provide them with rich learning, personal development and citizenship opportunities (p.10).

A significant body of both international and Australian research has found correlations between parent/family engagement in children’s education and schooling, and indicators such as:

  • improved school readiness
  • higher retention and graduation rates
  • enhanced cognitive development and academic achievement
  • higher motivation and greater ability to self-regulate behaviour
  • better social and relationship skills

 

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