There is clear, consistent evidence from the last five decades to show that learner outcomes (attendance, behaviour, school retention, academic achievement, and well-being) improve when parents engage in student learning. However, there are also persistent questions about what this engagement looks like and when it might be counterproductive. There is some evidence to suggest that traditional forms of involvement, such as attending school events and checking homework, make a positive difference to student learning; however, more subtle aspects of parent engagement like “creating an atmosphere in the home in which education is valued, and in which high expectations and levels of support are established,”[1] appear to be most effective.


Parent engagement may be broadly defined as the behaviours, values, attitudes, and activities of parents that promote their child’s academic development, ability to learn, and educational outcomes.[2] However, with the existence of “helicopter parents” who meddle in teachers’ work, and, more recently, “bulldozer parents” who act as if it is their right to bully and threaten school leaders,[3] it is little wonder that some principals and teachers may wonder whether cultivating positive parent-school relationships is worth it.


A 2014 survey of Queensland State school principals conducted as part of the Parental Engagement in Schools(PES) project found that 20 per cent of principals did not support parent involvement in school governance and 10 per cent held negative views about the school’s parent organisation.[4]


So how can schools engage with parents in ways that will benefit student learning outcomes while developing mutually acceptable and beneficial parent-school relationships? By working together, actively listening, exchanging information and ideas in substantive conversations, and building trusting relationships.


Join Qualtrics and CIRCLE for a live webinar that will show how collecting rich, actionable data from parents through surveys can give schools the insights they need to bridge the gap between parents and educators, and drive better student outcomes.


[Webinar] Voice of the Parent: How Schools Can Engage With Parents

Register today


Phil Cummins, Managing Director, CIRCLE
Samantha Murray, K-12 Subject Matter Expert, Qualtrics
Date: 26 October, 2016
Time: 4PM AEST

Can’t attend? Sign up anyway! We’ll send you a link to the recorded version.


Qualtrics and CIRCLE have a shared vision to empower schools to achieve the best possible outcomes for all students. This article originally featured on CIRCLE’s blog, which you can view here.



Qualtrics for K-12 Schools, In Partnership With CIRCLE




[1] Emerson, L (et al) (2012), Parental engagement in learning and schooling: Lessons from research.

[2] for%20Teachers%20-%20Number%201%20-%20Parent%20Engagement. pdf

[3] Department of Education and Training (2015), Making my school better

[4] Riley, P (2015) The Australian Principal occupational health, safety and wellbeing survey