Research and Articles

Parent engagement in schools means parents and school staff working together to support and improve the learning, development and wellbeing of children and adolescents.

What is Parent Engagement?

In Australia, “parental involvement” is typically understood as being present at school through activities such as P&F groups, tuckshop and classroom volunteer programs. In contrast “parental engagement” refers to parents taking an interest in and being involved in their child’s learning. Some North American web sites use involvement and engagement interchangeably.

Defining parental engagement

A background research paper developed by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) for the ACT Government defining parental engagement | LEARN MORE

Parent engagement in children’s education

A paper by the former Family-School and Community Partnerships Bureau that defines parental engagement | LEARN MORE

A summary paper by the Australian Government on what the research says about parent engagement and family-school partnerships | LEARN MORE

Fact sheets to support the Family-School Partnerships Framework | LEARN MORE

Parent engagement in children’s learning

Australian Government Department of Education resources and information on parent engagement and how parents can support their children to do their best at school | LEARN MORE

Parental engagement, the Queensland context

Queensland Government resources, supporting information and framework on parental engagement in Queensland state schools | LEARN MORE

Queensland Independent Schools (QIS) Parents Network

QIS Parents Network Executive Officer Sue Kloeden explains what parent engagement is in this webinar for Queensland independent schools | LEARN MORE

Who Guides us in Parental Engagement?


Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth

ARACY is the peak body funded by the Australian Government to support parent engagement | LEARN MORE

Australian Parents Council

The council provides a Certificate IV in Parent, Family and Community Engagement | LEARN MORE

Queensland Consultants

Cathy Quinn provides a Certificate 4 in parent engagement | LEARN MORE


Global Family Research Project

This is a leading research group that believes for all children to succeed, powerful family and community engagement and high-performing schools are essential | LEARN MORE

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Senior lecturer on education Dr Karen Mapp runs a six-week parent engagement course through edX | LEARN MORE

National Network of Partnership Schools

Based at John Hopkins University and led by Dr Joyce Epstein, this is a network of schools striving to improve student learning through parent teacher partnerships | LEARN MORE

People for Education

Research and evidence-based resources supporting parents and schools in implementing effective parental engagement. Having high expectations, talking about school, reading together and developing positive attitudes and work habits are seen as the four critical elements parents can foster in their homes | LEARN MORE

Parental Engagement Research, Articles & Resources


Parental engagement in learning and schooling: lessons from research

This report provides a synopsis of the published literature relating to parental engagement in both the home and school environments. On the basis of the evidence in the literature, it identifies those approaches which have the greatest influence and impact on student outcomes | LEARN MORE

Parent-teacher interactions: engaging with parents and carers

This study by Australian academics identified factors that impact on the way parents and teachers interact with each other and what each party considers collaborative and non-collaborative practices | LEARN MORE

Education capital: defining, progressing and measuring parental engagement

Reports and resources prepared by ARACY for the ACT Government that provide an evidence-based understanding of parental engagement – what it is, why it matters, and how best to foster it | LEARN MORE

Strengthening family and community engagement in student learning

An Australian Government resource designed to assist school communities to reflect on and strengthen family and community engagement in student learning. It incorporates a new School Assessment Tool (Reflection Matrix) to support school planning processes. The tool helps schools to reflect on and decide where they are placed on a continuum of engagement and where work can be celebrated and further developed | LEARN MORE

A summary of sources of difference in academic achievement in students of the same age

A one-page overview of the factors that can determine differences in academic achievement in children and what impact these may have | LEARN MORE

Engaging parents in schools and building parent school partnerships: the role of school and parent organisation leadership

This research article by Queensland academics explores how a positive school climate and principal leadership are pivotal to building parent-school partnerships and supporting parent engagement in child learning more generally. Findings from surveys distributed to principals and presidents of parent organisations in 1,233 Queensland state schools are evaluated | LEARN MORE

Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools

This report by the David Gonsk-led review panel of education experts, contains a range of recommendations to lift student outcomes in Australian schools. Parent engagement features in recommendation 2 of the report | LEARN MORE


Working with parents to support children’s learning

UK-based Education and Endowment Foundation produced a guidance report aimed at senior education leaders who are thinking about their school’s approach to engaging parents | LEARN MORE

Family and community engagement

Public Policy Institute of California prepared this paper on family engagement practices in schools | LEARN MORE

Doing what matters most: how parents can help their children succeed at school

People for Education have reviewed past studies, undertaken their own research and recommended a range of activities schools can undertake to support parent engagement in education | LEARN MORE

They’ve also developed practical advice for school communities:

Tip sheet for principals| LEARN MORE

Tip sheet for teachers | LEARN MORE

Tip sheet for parents | LEARN MORE

Working with families, supporting student learning

This monograph by the Ontario Ministry of Education in Canada argues that engaging parents in the life of the school yields positive benefits and rewards for families and schools | LEARN MORE

Narrowing the achievement gap – parental engagement with children’s learning

This book by UK parental engagement expert and Lecturer in Educational Leadership and Management at the University of Bath, Janet Goodall, proposes a radical change to the conception of learning, education and schooling. It arguest that parental engagement is the best lever we have for school improvement and closing the achievement gap | LEARN MORE

Research for teachers, #1 parent engagement

This article by Canadian parent engagement expert Debbie Pushor from the University of Saskatchewan, outlines research findings on parental engagement and three steps for schools to follow: 1) adopt a definition of parental engagement 2) pay attention to the knowledge parents and families hold and 3) use the knowledge from parents and families to engage with parents | LEARN MORE

Parental involvement to parental engagement: a continuum

This UK article tracing the continuum between parental involvement with schools, and parental engagement with children’s learning. It provides examples at each stage along the continuum  | LEARN MORE

Review of best practice in parental engagement

A UK summary of best practice research on what works in parent engagement | LEARN MORE

Engaging parents in raising achievement: Do parents know they matter?

A UK research report on parental involvement and parental engagement outlining the impacts, the value of, barriers and implications | LEARN MORE