Parents key to unlocking education opportunities, say experts


  • New leaflet includes tips on how parents can make invaluable link between lessons and leisure time
  • Leaflet from Family Action and NAHT is third produced under the banner ‘Ready to Learn Every Day’

PARENTS are invaluable in helping children apply what they have learnt in school to life outside the classroom, according to a new leaflet from charity Family Action and school leaders’ union NAHT.

The leaflet, entitled Giving Your Child a Helping Hand, encourages parents to try a number of ideas at home to support their children to succeed at school.

By helping children to see how their education translates into daily life, parents can help cement the lessons their children have learnt in school and get youngsters to engage with their learning in a wider context.

“Parents are the best partners schools can have in helping pupils make the most of their education,” said Bernadette Hunter, NAHT president. “Just by encouraging children to help with things like cooking where they weigh and measure ingredients or by chatting together about the natural world around them as they play outside, means parents can help their children apply the lessons they have learnt to their everyday life.”

The leaflet offers tips to parents on how to use everyday activities as an opportunity to link children’s learning to family and home life as a way of helping them absorb skills and information. Examples include showing children how to handle money during the family shop and looking for places to visit, such as nature reserves or museums, where children can have fun learning more about the subjects they study at school.

The campaign recognises that most parents are extremely good at automatically linking home and school learning. However, Family Action and NAHT hope the leaflet will give all parents the confidence to feel they can add their own ways of getting their children engaged in their education.

The new leaflet is being distributed to NAHT’s 28,500 members who will in turn be encouraged to share it with parents. It is the third in a series produced by Family Action and NAHT. Previous leaflets provided tips on getting children ready to learn and on speaking and listening.

The Ready to Learn Every Day campaign is aimed at promoting the vital role of parents in their children’s learning, as well as supporting teachers in their relationships with pupils and their families. Parental engagement is especially important for children from disadvantaged families, who include those supported by many of Family Action’s services.

David Holmes, Chief Executive of Family Action, said: “We know from the work that we do with families that a good home life is vital for a good school life. Giving children the best possible start means helping them learn, not just at school, but also at home and out and about. Whether it’s taking them to a museum, visiting a library, or providing a quiet place for them to do homework, we want to encourage parents to think even more about what they can do to support their children to learn and to enjoy learning.”

Bernadette Hunter, president of NAHT, said: “Learning shouldn’t end at half past three. There are hundreds of activities that can be enjoyed by families that will help children to be better learners and show them the links between learning at school and applying this in real life situations.”