Rapid Review of Parental Engagement and Narrowing the Gap in Attainment for Disadvantaged Children

Hilary Grayson

19 June 2013

This rapid review explored parental engagement in education, with a particular focus on closing gaps in attainment for disadvantaged pupils. It looked at research published subsequent to a Department for Education review on the same topic (Goodall et al., 2011). NFER and the Oxford University Press co-funded the review.

Key Findings

  • Parental promotion of reading and learning, parents’ relationships and interactions with the child, and disciplinary practices are statistically associated with children’s levels of achievement. This is the case across all levels of family resources, suggesting that positive parenting benefits children regardless of their socioeconomic circumstance.
  • Increased parental engagement can improve academic performance; relationships between parents, teachers and schools; and the home learning environment.
  • There is a lot of evidence on the impact of parental engagement programmes on children’s literacy, but much less for other curriculum areas.
  • Interventions focusing on both academic outcomes and parenting skills are more effective than interventions addressing either aspect in isolation.
  • Support and training for parents can achieve greater parental confidence in managing children’s behaviour and supporting children’s learning.
  • There is robust evidence of the impact of family learning, literacy and numeracy programmes.