ERO’s latest national report, Educationally powerful connections with parents and whānau shows that strong connections between schools and parents and whānau are essential to raising the achievement of children and young people, particularly those at risk of underachieving.
“This report supports what we already know - meaningful connections play a critical role in helping those kids at risk of underachievement.” says Stephanie Greaney, ERO’s Manager, Evaluation Services.
ERO’s report is based on a 2014 evaluation of 256 schools across New Zealand. It provides examples of schools that have formed two-way, learning-focused connections with parents and whānau of kids at risk of not achieving.
Stephanie Greaney says these examples are stories of persistence. “We found principals, teachers and boards persisting, challenging themselves to do better, changing their mind-sets and often acting outside their comfort zones so that their students succeed.
“Teachers and leaders learned to listen to parents. The more they listened, the more teachers began to see students’ fears and aspirations through the eyes of the parents. We found teachers changing their practice in response to what parents had shared and really meeting the needs of those kids.”
As well as identifying common characteristics of teachers and leaders with successful working relationships with parents and whānau, the report reiterates the importance of extending learning beyond school to home.
Stephanie Greaney adds: “An essential part of making and maintaining an educationally powerful connection is making sure that what’s used and talked about at school is understood and used at home too. This connects parents and whānau to their child’s learning and gives children extra opportunities to learn.
“Reported comments from parents such as ‘they helped us with our boys as well as helping our boys’ and ‘now I know how I can help my son’, show the impact of educationally powerful connections.”
The report is available on ERO’s website at www.ero.govt.nz and copies will be distributed to all schools.
For more information, contact Stacy Mohan on 04 471 6642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.