Parents' (familial) engagement in young people’s learning is a vital, if often unacknowledged, element of any schooling system. Research has shown the importance of parents or other adults in supporting learning outside the classroom. This support can be in the form of reading with/to younger children, supervising homework, and perhaps most importantly, in conversations around learning and supporting young people’s beliefs in their ability to learn.

While the literature acknowledges the importance of parents’ engagement in learning, teaching staff often struggle to support this engagement. Most programmes which prepare teachers touch only lightly on this issue, if at all, as research carried out at Swansea, in conjunction with Bangor University, has shown. Parental involvement with schools (coming into parents’ evenings, for example) is often confused with parental engagement with learning (which generally takes place outside of school); it is the latter of these which seems to have the most beneficial impact on young people’s education.

It is also important that we understand how different families engage with learning and support all families to do so.

Welsh education has acknowledged the importance of parents’ involvement and engagement in learning for many years, leading the way with a Toolkit for Community and Family Engagement in 2016, and with current support for community-based schooling.