Headteacher's musings - BJAB - British Junior Academy of Brussels

Headteacher’s musings 

An occasional series of articles from Mrs White

December 2019

Parental involvement plays a key role in children’s academic attainment – new study

Educational leaders, teachers and support workers will all tell you how parental involvement plays a vital part in a child’s educational success. I was, therefore, interested to come across a recent piece of research which supports the strong BJAB emphasis on partnership with parents. Although the research was conducted in England and, because of the remit of the organisation, emphasised an understanding of the issues of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, its findings are relevant.

Of particular significance to me is the type of parental involvement which has the greatest impact.

Here’s a quote from the summary:

The association is strongest if parental involvement is defined as parental expectations for their children’s academic achievement. There is no positive relationship between parents providing homework assistance and academic achievement. In the early years, the evidence supports the importance of parents’ reading to / with their children (and associated interactions) and support for learning (creating a supportive home learning environment). For school-aged children the evidence supports the importance of home-school partnership and parental interest in children’s academic activities. There is a weak association between general parenting style and academic attainment; there is value in promoting authoritative parenting but it is also necessary to promote school-specific parental involvement.

Parental involvement is defined as parental expectations

In other words and putting it into context here at BJAB, the most important contribution parents can make is to support and follow the culture of the individualised high expectations we have at BJAB. That manifests itself not only in the parent/teacher meetings which are held four times a year, so that there is understanding and agreement on realistic expectations but also, for example, in the work of the class reps and the social activities provided by the school and the Friends of BJAB. “Buying-in” to the BJAB values will, as suggested by this research, have a positive impact. You will recall I mentioned in a recent newsletter discussing the value of Humility with your children and why, from time-to-time, I may have to remind everyone about the importance of punctuality and correct uniform. It works!

The research conducted by the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter, also highlighted areas where schools and early years settings can support parents in a way that improves their children’s learning. I’m pleased to say that the recent information session in EYFS is a perfect example.

Lead author Dr Nick Axford, PenCLAHRC Associate Professor in Health Services at the University of Plymouth, explained that there was no one thing that schools should do to support parent engagement, but that there were areas showing promise.

“These findings from existing studies and new surveys are interesting, because they highlight the positive link between parental engagement and children’s academic attainment,” he said.

“However, it takes time and planning to nurture and encourage parent support. Recommendations we would put forward include for schools to build parental engagement into their school improvement plans, and to work hard on establishing good communication with parents.”

I am absolutely certain that BJAB parents want their children to achieve highly so, with the evidence in mind, combined with my experience, I suggest that you should:

· Take a full interest in the academic and pastoral aims of BJAB

· Attend the Friends of BJAB events

· Support the emphasis on manners, behaviour and uniform

· Consider your own well-being and that of each family member

Above all, give your child the message that BJAB is the best school in Brussels!

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