Parents want to be more involved in their child's education, research by IRIS Software Group reveals 

3 minutes length
Posted: 10th January 2023

Parents who believe their child’s school makes best use of technology are five times more likely to feel informed about their child’s academic progress. But nearly two-thirds of parents (60%) would like to be more involved and engaged in their child’s education, reveals IRIS Software Group (IRIS) research.  

Despite the commendable work of schools to close the attainment gap, there remains a need to better engage parents in supporting their children’s learning at home. As the cost-of-living crisis puts education at risk due to school funding struggles – disproportionately affecting disadvantaged pupils – the quality of schoolwork and learning is undoubtedly suffering.  

However, research from the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) has found high parental engagement – where parents are involved in supporting their children’s academic journey from primary to secondary school – helps to reduce absenteeism, improve student confidence, grades, social skills, and behaviours, and builds strong community links. Parental involvement is a more powerful force than other socio-economic factors like social class, family size and level of parental education.  

Clearly the need for greater parent-school engagement is more crucial than ever to unlock the best educational outcomes for students. Yet according to research by IRIS, which surveyed 71,129 primary and secondary school parents, 65% feel they are either ‘not well informed’ or ‘only informed at key points’ about their child’s academic progress.  

The research does reveal technology plays a critical role in improving parental engagement. Parents of primary and secondary school children are 2.5 times more likely to be satisfied with efforts to engage with them if schools use an app to communicate.  

Further, the overwhelming majority (88%) of parents who say they have a great relationship with their child’s teacher also think the school makes the best use of technology, compared with only 11% for those who say they have a poor relationship.   

Simon Freeman, MD for Education, IRIS Software Group comments, “Parent engagement has a large and positive impact on student learning regardless of social class or ethnicity. Engaged parents accelerate students’ progress. To establish this social contract, parents need to be fully engaged and involved in student learning.  

“There is a clear role for technology here. However, the big challenge for schools and Trusts is the fragmented nature of applications that don’t talk to each other. Teachers and parents need one centralised platform from which they can manage all communications in real-time. This will give teachers more capacity to relay critical information to parents to create actionable insights. In turn, parents will feel more informed and engaged and be able to support their children better than ever before.”  

The research further reveals a clear primary-secondary school disparity when it comes to parent satisfaction with engagement. A larger proportion of parents of secondary school children feel poorly informed about their child’s academic progress – a 6 percentage point difference between the two. And half felt they were only informed at key points in their child’s studies, such as during their GCSEs.  

Out of the 60% of parents who are satisfied with the school’s communication, 44% of primary school parents are ‘very satisfied’, compared to only 28% in secondary school. And secondary school parents are 80% more likely to not be satisfied with their child’s school’s effort to engage with them than primary school parents.  

To download the full Parental Engagement: Lessons From Parents report, please click here.   

About the research  

IRIS Software Group surveyed 71,129 primary and secondary school parents in July 2022. The research was conducted both independently of school leadership involvement and anonymously, without direct feedback to the schools involved about their parents’ responses.