Exploiting ICT to improve parental engagement, moving towards online reporting: Toolkit

Written by admin

Topics: Education, Parents

Yes, all research does point to parents being able to have a positive impact on student attainment – it’s official. The Becta toolkit (published May 2008) outlines how parents can and do have a positive impact on their children’s attainment at school. It is all about how we can get parents more involved in this process cloud called education. I think there is a link between the experience that parents had at school and those experienced by their children. The challenge in theory, is a simple one – how can we get more parents to engage in their children’s education, more of the time. How can we put them in the driving seat to pull information when they want it to help foster a true working partnership, seeing parents setting and securing high aspirations for the futures of their children. It is about educating parents about education, giving them access to information that they can use to reinforce expectations at home but about empowering them to work collaboratively with their children and teachers – even other parents. How much of this are we going to be able to do with Web 3.0 – really exciting times ahead.


What I found really interesting by reading this document is that there seems to be quite a large emphasis on pushing information out, with some two-way communication of information. Personally I think the key point here is being missed, it is not just about information but interaction and setting opportunities for broader collaboration. The Children’s Plan states – ‘receive and access information about their children’s work, progress, attendance and behaviour when and where they want’. But it is this and so much more, is it all about receiving and accessing information? I question whether what would be presented to parents is actually information in the first place, isn’t it data? Information is data that has been processed, data is raw facts and figures. What is so important is that whatever data we produce for parents is processed in such a way that it is meaningful information. Just having some obscure percentage attendance data for example, may not really be very useful for a parent. It needs putting into context and interpreting, often into layman terms so that we are inclusive. Your son’s current attendance of 85% is below the school average, over the course of 5 years this is the equivalent of missing x weeks of school – is far more useful for a parent than just a percentage alone.


There has always been this triad relationship in education between institutions, students and their parents and current technology should be underpinning the foundations of this 3 way relationship. When this is done successfully pay back is huge, there is a strong, underlying learning community – all parties can access and interpret information but it is also putting parents in the driving seat that little bit more to secure improvement – not just for their children but for the whole school through extended collaboration and involvement in broader improvement projects.


Within the toolkit there is a nice diagram (Section1:4) that did hit a chord with me and that was that whatever is done needs to be timely, manageable and meaningful – exactly what is taught within many an A-level ICT course for system requirements. I think these are very pertinent and can be used as a useful steer when opening up the whole conversation about functionality and key requirements of a parent portal. Something that I will endeavour to remember when developing future posts on this topic.


Without getting into really detailed discussion about the component parts of a parent portal the underlying core values that will be communicated through a strategic vision can be fairly easy to list – I am really interested to see what you think on this, so please feel free to leave comments.


Benefits to parents

  • In control, they decide what they want see and when
  • Data is turned into useful information that is easy for parents to understand and interpret
  • Parents develop a deeper understanding of the educational experience their children have
  • They feel empowered – opportunities to collaborate and get more involved with the school
  • Enhanced capacity to support their children’s education
  • Enhanced dialogue with teaching staff
  • Direct support to help raise their child’s achievement
  • Engagement with community learning projects
  • Access to resources to help shape their understanding of their role – parents play a very important within education
Benefits to school
  • Improved dialogue with parents
  • Enhanced parent support
  • Enhanced parental engagement that will enable parents to impact more on whole school improvement projects
  • Parents feel empowered to make more of a difference
  • More efficient workflows for administration
  • Enhanced communication between home and school
  • Seamless integration using IT systems
  • Teachers with more time to focus on delivering high quality lessons
  • Re-focus parent consultation evenings
  • Sustainable schools – less paper!
  • Open up more opportunities – family learning etc
Benefits to learners
  • Showcase work to parents
  • Enhanced support at home – parents in position to be more supportive, be more positive with praise and take an interest. This leads to improved motivation and engagement
  • Developing systems that address the way in which they interact with modern society
  • E-Learning engages learners, providing them with tools to access the world of collaborative work and sharing of ideas on the Internet
Benefits to broader community
  • Effective marketing and administration of community learning opportunities
  • Enhanced social networking through the parent portal – e.g. discussion forums for parents to engage in
I’m sure that I will be putting some posts together that try and capture the key functionality of a parent portal over the next few weeks so watch this space.

1 Comment For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Cherry says:

    Good job manikg it appear easy.

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