Parent and carer involvement

A parent and their child

Research consistently demonstrates that where parents are involved with their children’s education and learning both at home and in partnership with the school, their children do better and achieve more.  These benefits can be long-lasting and extend to better health and relationships, and improved employment prospects.

Parents make a difference

Parents, carers and families are by far the most important influences on children’s lives. Parents who take on a supportive role in their children’s learning make a difference in improving achievement and behaviour. Their support can play a vital role at all stages of education.

For example, where parents are actively involved in reading with their children at home, their children’s reading scores improve, on average, by between 12 and 18 months. In the secondary sector, parents’ active support for their child’s learning can make a difference into adolescence. Evidence shows that most differences in achievement by 14-year-olds in English, maths and science are due to home influences.

Parents in partnership with schools

The active involvement of parents in the life of the school can help promote a learning community in which pupils can engage positively with school staff and their peers. Schools can benefit from developing positive partnerships with parents by involving them in all decisions affecting their children’s education and learning.

Where there is a relationship of mutual trust and respect there can be effective communication that supports both parents and teachers. The better the information that schools provide to parents, the more they can support their children’s learning and the school. Information that parents share with teachers can assist them in adapting their teaching to suit the learning styles of pupils and take account of any particular issues that there may be.

The Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006

In May 2006 the Scottish Parliament passed an Act that aims to help parents to be:

  • involved with their child’s education and learning
  • welcomed as an active participant in the life of the school
  • encouraged to express their views on school education generally.

Curriculum for Excellence regards parents as integral to providing effective education and learning for children and young people. The Act identifies three elements that are important and that schools have a role in promoting and developing:

Learning at home

The Act recognises the vital role that parents and other carers play in children's learning and development.  Parents are the first and ongoing educators of their own children and, as such, should receive information and support to help develop their child's learning at home and in the community.

Home-school partnerships

The Act reflects the shared role and responsibility that schools, parents and the community have in working together to educate children.  Effective home-school partnerships are essential to ensure that children get the most out of their school and the education system. 

Schools must be open to the involvement of parents in the work they do and they should consider ways of providing information that help parents to engage with school and their children's education.

Parent Councils

The Act provides a framework for ensuring that parents have the opportunity to express their views and have these taken into account on policy matters affecting the education of their children.  It makes provision for parents to be members of the Parents' Forum at a school and to have their views represented to the school, education authority and others through a representative Parent Council for the school.

More from Education Scotland

  • Parentzone

    Parentzone aims to develop partnerships between parents and schools. Find out how you can support your child's education in Scotland.

  • Engaging with parents

    Schools can benefit from developing positive partnerships with parents by involving them in all decisions affecting their children's education and learning.

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