Why parents matter

Parents matter. Mums and Dads are a child’s first teacher and the principal stakeholders in their education.

Research tells us that parents have a significant influence on their child’s achievement. John Hattie's seminal 2008 study found that "the effect of parental engagement over a student’s school career is equivalent to adding two or three years to that student’s education".

PTA UK feel that our schools do not always consider parents in this way and, by not tapping this resource, are missing a key opportunity to boost children's attainment and well-being. Our Schools and Education pages  provide useful resources to support educators so that more parents can engage in more schools in more ways to benefit as many children as possible.

How can parents participate?

There are a range of ways in which parents can participate in their child’s education and school life.
  • We have collated a whole host of resources developed by educational experts to help you improve parental participation in your school here.
  • We will also include the findings on parents in education research here.

“Parental engagement is a powerful lever for raising achievement in schools. When parents and teachers work together to improve learning, the gains in achievement are significant”. Do Parents Know They Matter (Harris & Goodall/University of Warwick 2007)

The term “parental engagement” often refers to what parents do at home to help their child succeed at school. It includes supporting children to attend and learn at school every day and ensuring they understand the importance their parents place on education.

Parents can also be positively involved in their child’s school – attending consultation evenings, responding to surveys, volunteering their time and talents to the school (Including in the PTA!), supporting with reading or becoming a governor/trustee. Being visible in school also communicates to children the value their parents place on education.

"Families play a critical role in the education of their children. Working with the school, parents and caregivers can help create collaborative partnerships that support all aspects of a child’s achievements at school". Parental Involvement: The Missing Link in School Achievement (Larocque, Kleinman and Darling, 2011)

It is vital that governors and school leaders create the culture and opportunities for mums, dads and carers from all walks of life to participate in education. Knowing how influential parents are may mean, for example, your school supporting those parents who are unaware of their value or are discouraged from playing their part because of their own, perhaps negative, experience of school.