Teacher Support Info

Beyond the school gate - How schools and families can work better together

By Julian Stanley, Teacher Support Network Chief Executive

Extract from the report Executive Summary Download the report Over the last decade there has been an increased awareness of the important role that parents play in the education of their child. At the same time, the role of teachers and schools has evolved with a greater focus on the wellbeing of the child and their family.

This has led to a number of welcome policy initiatives to try to improve the quality of relationships between schools and families in order to boost outcomes for pupils. However, the work of Parentline Plus and Teacher Support Network has shown that barriers between teachers and parents still exist and can lead to stress and anxiety on both sides. This can have a negative impact on children.

The charities have collaborated on this report, working with teachers and parents in order to further inform the debate and make recommendations for change. Parentline Plus is a leading national charity providing parenting support to over 700,000 families a year in order to improve the livesof over a million children.

The charity offers support in a number of different forms, including a free 24 hour helpline, a website, personalised email support, leaflets, group support, one-to-one support and extended telephone counselling.

In 2009, seven percent of calls to Parentline Plus’ helpline related to concerns over their child’s education. Teacher Support Network is an independent charity dedicated to improving the wellbeing and effectiveness of training, serving and retired teachers.

Through coaching, counselling, information, money advice and financial support, the charity helps tens of thousands of teachers tackle personal and work-related issues each year, on the phone and online. Teacher Support Network use sthe knowledge gained from these free and confidential services to raise awareness of the issues affecting teachers with the aim of improving education policies and practices which impact teacher wellbeing.

Our two charities see an enormous amount of scope for improving policy and practice in this area. We are concerned that some policies have the potential to inadvertently deepen the divide between parents and teachers.

However, given that teachers and parents inherently have a shared aim of raising and educating successful young people, we believe that positive relationships do exist and barriers can be overcome. In this report we review the extensive literature and many studies examining the link between parental engagement and pupil attainment, behaviour and attendance.

Having gathered evidence from parents and from teachers, including case studies of good practice, we draw out a number of recommendations for policy makers.