Harnessing Parent Power: Working with parents to improve pupil outcomes

Harnessing Parent Power: Working with parents to improve pupil outcomes

Jan 2013


Harnessing Parent Power is a training resource designed to explore with governors, school leaders, staff and parents how schools and families can find new ways of working together as a partnership which makes the best use of everyone’s skills and talents to improve outcomes for young people.

Designed to assist secondary schools, this resource helps teachers and parents collaborate to support the child’s learning and bring about partnership working that transforms schools and in turn transforms the life chances of young people.  It will help you to raise pupil achievement by involving their parents more closely in their education and developing a shared mission.


Harnessing Parent Power will support you to redefine the home-school relationship by helping you to:

  • Create an ongoing dialogue with parents, discussing aspirations for the child, barriers to progress and how you can collaborate to support the child’s learning.
  • Enable parents to see the importance of their role, involvement and support.
  • Benefit from the skills and knowledge everyone can bring to the partnership.
  • Raise pupil attainment through better use of home learning.
  • Create an inclusive school culture where parents can contribute to school decision-making.
  • Develop partnerships as a whole school endeavour that includes administrative staff, catering staff, ICT staff, community liaison and site staff.
  • Build commitment and confidence of teaching and support staff to work with parents.
  • Integrate a plan of action into the school development plan to ensure maximum impact.
  • Develop shared understanding about the purpose of homework and a consistent approach.
  • Locate the school as part of the local community which it can support and be supported by.

Why buy an Optimus Education DIY Training resource?

Harnessing Parent Power: Working with parents to improve pupil outcomes is part of the Optimus Education D-I-Y (deliver it yourself) training portfolio. Our D-I-Y training packages provide:

  • value for money – training sessions can be delivered multiple times to different groups of staff
  • comprehensive training materials – detailed training plans, presentations, handouts and a variety of practical activities to engage participants are all provided in the package
  • flexibility – training sessions can be customised with case studies, questions or exercises which are specific to your school’s needs
  • excellent quality – the training materials have been written by experienced trainers with expertise in the topic area; you benefit from their knowledge and guidance
  • measurable outcomes – each package includes ways to monitor effectiveness and learning outcomes.


Summary of contents

Harnessing Parent Power consists of five separate sessions, aimed at governors, senior leaders, school staff and parents.  Each session will help participants understand their role in this partnership and will foster skills and encourage reflection to enable more collaborative working to take root.

  • Redefine and improve home-school relationships
  • Improve outcomes for pupils through parental involvement
  • Forge collaborative partnerships that get value from everyone
  • Raise pupil attainment through better home learning

Session Breakdown

Training session 1 – Making the case: why work in partnership with parents?  For governors and senior leaders.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Reflect on the importance of developing a genuine partnership between home and school
  • Gain an overview of the research which indicates the role of parents in raising pupil achievement
  • Come to a view about how such a partnership might be developed at the school

Training session 2 – Parents as partners: developing a whole-school approach.  For the senior leadership team.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Build on outcomes of training session 1 to agree a plan of action
  • Discuss barriers to taking this work forward and how these might be addressed
  • Explore how partnership with parents can be integrated into the school development plan as a whole-school focus

Training session 3 – Engaging parents in supporting learning. For teaching and support staff.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the benefits of developing a partnership with parents
  • Understand the barriers to parental engagement
  • Generate ideas as to how, in their own role, they can contribute to the development of this work

Training session 4 – Parents and schools working together.  A workshop for parents.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the benefits of supporting their child’s learning
  • Understand how they can work with the school
  • Generate ideas as to how they can offer support

Training session 5 – Making homework work: reviewing homework policy and practice. Consultation session for teaching staff

Learning Outcomes:

  • Discuss the purpose of homework
  • Review current practice and consider improvements to ensure that learning done at home is meaningful
  • Identify the key priorities for the school’s homework policy

About the expert

Fiona Carnie is an education consultant and writer.

She is currently on the senior leadership team of an Academy in the West Midlands where she has responsibility for parental involvement. She has worked with local authorities, schools, universities and voluntary organisations on a range of education projects, particularly on the theme of voice and participation. Following her involvement in a DCSF-funded project on setting up parent councils she has worked extensively with schools and local authorities to develop processes to give parents a say in school decision-making.


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