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Partners in learning – schools’ engagement with parents, whānau and communities

This report deals with a major evaluation by the Education Review Office (ERO) in 2007. Their approach consisted of meetings and discussions with school personnel, parents, whānau, and communities across the country.

 The data provided a range of perspectives about schools’ engagement with whānau. What emerged were six critical factors for enhancing engagement: committed leadership, supportive relationships, an inclusive school culture, effective partnerships, community networks, and timely communication.

 Interestingly, ERO found those schools with very diverse communities had some of the most successful strategies for engaging families. As such, parents felt more confident to become involved in their children's learning, and there was a common sense of purpose, with shared responsibility for student learning and well-being.

 Notwithstanding the benefits, the evaluation acknowledged the challenges presented by ‘hard to reach’ families. ERO also acknowledged the barriers faced by parents in terms of time, distance, and feelings of unease in the school environment.

 Based on this evaluation, ERO developed indicators for successful engagement.

 There are two companion reports associated with this evaluation. The first is entitled Partners in Learning – Good Practice. It deals with more in-depth findings about examples of good practice. The second is entitled Partners in Learning – Parents’ Voices. It covers the perspectives of diverse communities in their engagement with schools.

Filed under: Productive partnerships | Research & evaluation | Effective leaders

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