Question: What is the most important factor in helping children achieve success at school?
Answer: Parental involvement
Like most people at the start of a new year I have been reflecting on what happened last year and what I learned. Most of my time has been spent improving our website and I remembered that when I was at school, websites had not been invented. Another chunk of time has been spent on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and that is a term that I hadn’t even heard of as recently as 10 years ago.
Wrapped in my little cocoon of modern technology it took one of the regular contributors to Education Quizzes to point out that technology is not the be-all-and-end-all of learning in 2015/2016. Linda Innes wrote an article for EQ that was published offline but it seems to me that it is so important that it bears republishing here…
When I worked for an education authority in the North East, a major barrier to improving standards in schools was an inability to gain parents’ involvement in their child’s education. Yet even in disadvantaged areas, children with supportive parents had a tremendous advantage.
According to research,* “the most accurate predictor of a student’s achievement in school is not income or social status but the extent to which that student’s family is able to:
- Create a home environment that encourages learning
- Express high (but not unrealistic) expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers
- Become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community”
*Henderson and Berla analysed 85 studies that all evidenced the great benefits of parental involvement in their children’s education. Supportive activities give tremendous results for children, parents, teachers and schools.
Your child is eager to learn from their early years – and with your help, for long after! Harness this love, and your child’s positive attitude towards learning will set the standard for the rest of their lives. If your child is top of the class in Y1, they are likely to maintain that position for the rest of their educational career. That’s why Educational Quizzes’ KS1 resources are so valuable. They complement and reinforce what your child is being taught at school, supporting them to retain knowledge and succeed in the KS1 SATs assessments at the end of Y2. Such activities can also challenge them in their areas of strength. KS1 quizzes are a brilliant support for children and parents alike.
BBC Bitesize KS1 is also a great starting point to understand what your child is learning.
So what else can you do, as a KS1 parent?
Aim for an average of around one hour per week listening to your child reading. Five or ten minutes a day with your five year old will pay dividends for life! Also schedule a regular ‘reading time’ when you read to them, and let your child sample different books. Parents’ support proves to be a vital factor in your child’s reading progress. Teachers do not have enough time to provide one-to-one support to each pupil, so if you do this each day, your help will put your child ahead of the rest. In addition, the KS1 SATs, currently assessed at the end of Y2, cover composition writing, distinguishing between homophones, high frequency words and having legible handwriting!
Make maths fun and interactive, using games and quizzes. Encourage children to count and take an active interest in numbers and shapes. By SATs time in Y2, your child will need to understand addition and subtraction, word problems, number bonds, place value, pictograms and polygons. Your motivation and encouragement will make this learning a positive experience.
Ask your child what they have learnt that day and ask them to teach you! There’s nothing like teaching someone to help you learn.
Ensure that your child has a space to do learning at home. In appreciation of the fact that every child learns in a different way, let them try working in a variety of circumstances. Some children need quiet, tidy places; others like music or bright colours to stimulate their thinking. Introduce a homework timetable to establish discipline and routine. From KS1 onwards, learning will be a regular event in your home.
As astronomer and astro-scientist Carl Sagan said: ‘I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students.’
Let’s nurture our children’s early passion into lifelong learning!
Is there any aspect of education you’d like to find out more about? If so, then our Knowledge Bank page is the place to go. It has articles which aim to answer parents’ questions on schooling together with advice on parenting issues such as child development and the importance of sleep. Why not take a look?
So there you have it folks, the most important ingredient to success is not the school, the teachers or the technology – it’s you the parent.