In February, I wrote to Ofsted seeking clarification on the importance of parental engagement in a school and the measures currently in place to ensure this, and I'm pleased to be able to share the response we've received.
Ofsted told me that “parental engagement is an important part of Ofsted inspection evidence from early years through further education and skills” remarking that it forms a significant part of inspections and must be an area that is well addressed by schools and colleges of all levels. Also interesting, was the way in which Ofsted verified the importance of excellent parental engagement in a school, “our inspection findings confirm that good parental engagement by a school has a positive impact on a school's capacity to understand and respond appropriately to the needs of children.”
Beginning this year, Ofsted “will be publishing individual school level data for schools with 10 or more submissions” which is set to break down parental responses and engagement levels for Ofsted. With this information set to become readily available for thousands of schools, it's even more important to ensure that schools are continuing to adopt approaches which involve parents in their child's education.
Once more, Ofsted has still not given clear guidelines on exactly what it expects to see as characteristically outstanding parental engagement and acknowledge that at the current time they are “constantly reviewing the way [they] work and how best to facilitate parental engagement” so we could be seeing some more changes due in this space over the coming year.
What can Schools do to Ensure "Great" Parental Engagement?
The difficulty is in the fact that Ofsted does not present clear guidelines on what it calls characteristically "outstanding" parental engagement. While parent views can have a strong influence, they don't provide all the statistical evidence to accurately, and fairly support a school's parental engagement, so what could your school do?
Follow any guidelines set out by the Department for Education and Ofsted (you can drop me a message/comment if you'd like to be added to our mailing list where we aim to share new guidelines on Parental Engagement as they become available)
Ensure your school's website meets the statutory requirements as set out by the DfE
Ask parents to share their views on Parent View at Parent Evenings (A large number of submissions will help support your case of active parental involvement)
Consider innovative solutions to parental engagement. I work with schools to provide tailored apps that meet individual school requirements and provide a great platform for engaging and communicating with parents.