Leading on Intervention: Taking action and reviewing progress
Involving parents and carers
Research carried out for the DCSF by Professor Charles Desforges points to the powerful link between good parenting and children's achievement:
Parental involvement in the form of 'at-home good parenting' has a significant effect upon children's achievement and adjustment. In the primary years this is significantly more than variance in pupil achievement between schools.
- Children of parents who take an active interest in their schooling make greater progress than other children.
- Gains in pupil achievement that stem from parental involvement programmes tend to be permanent.
- In schools with matched intakes, those with strong parental partnerships do best – they consistently have fewer problems related to pupil behaviour and their pupils' achievements are better.
- Family influences have a more powerful effect on children's achievements than either school or neighbourhood factors.
Sometimes the use of additional intervention at school can be used as a substitute for parental involvement – a way of making up for lack of educational support in the home environment. While there will be times when this is necessary, it is important always to make sure that the school has drawn on best practice in work on engaging parents, and not given up too easily. Interventions can have a powerful impact on children's progress, but the impact can be short term. Investing effort in increasing parents' and carers' involvement with their child's learning has effects that can be guaranteed to last.
Partnership between school and family
The most effective interventions therefore are ones that represent a partnership between school and family.
Parents and carers should always know if their child is part of an additional intervention, and why. It is helpful to provide them with information about what it is intended the child will learn through the intervention, and how they can support this learning at home.
As an intervention leader you may want to audit the interventions you offer, to see whether they encourage parental involvement. Many primary interventions provide take-home activities, for example. Family Literacy, mathematics and the Family SEAL programmes are exemplary in providing parallel activities for parents and carers and their children. Family Talk language programmes are also available. You may want to seek advice from the local team responsible for family learning (sometimes the local authority adult or community education, and sometimes local colleges) about how you can build increased family engagement into your interventions at school.
Involving parents and carers in intervention will be easier if the school already has effective systems in place for promoting parental involvement for all children. You may find the professional development materials Behaviour and Attendance: Working with parents and carers (Ref: 1750-2005 PDS-EN) useful.