Engaging Families in Children's Education

Engaging Families in Children’s Education is a SCEL-endorsed professional learning programme appropriate for all within the school sector who wish to develop their practice around family engagement by understanding the Why and the How of engaging families in children's education.

The programme may be delivered as part of a local authority’s leadership development or professional learning programme, and is also regularly organised as an open session for individual delegates. Full information is available from Connect by email training@connect.scot or call  0131 474 6199.

The programme explores the rationale for better engagement with families, and the legislative/policy background which requires it.  Programme materials include a summary which can be shared with colleagues and families. The material also includes links to websites and other resources where further and more detailed information is available.

Aims and objectives

This programme is designed to support classroom teachers and senior staff within schools in effectively engaging families in their children’s education.

Learning intentions

 Delegates will leave the workshops having

  • developed a good understanding of the benefits and challenges of engaging families in children’s education
  • co-constructed approaches to improving engagement with all families
  • experienced an innovative participatory workshop approach, modelling approaches which we recommend when working with families.

 Learning objectives

  1. Understand the ways in which effective engagement with families can impact on outcomes for young people.
  2. Understand the role and responsibilities of Parent Councils.
  3. Work effectively with the Parent Council and wider school community.
  4. Review their school’s current engagement with families in their children’s education.
  5. Identify the factors that affect relationships between families and the school community.
  6. Understand the six types of engagement with families.
  7. Understand effective planning for improved engagement with families.
  8. Identify and prioritise areas for improving families’ engagement, with particular reference to School Improvement Planning.
  9. Examine and share best practice in engaging families.
  10. Develop a practical action plan for improving families’ engagement.
  11. Develop criteria for evaluation of the action plan.
  12. Understand legislation requiring schools to engage families in their children’s education.


Pre-work and preparation

 The programme is designed to take place over two half days, each session comprising three hours of course participation. Delegates are asked to read background materials before the first workshop in order to take part in professional discussions during the course of the programme.

Delegates are also asked to complete a task involving them in critical reflection on the learning from the first workshop; this will prepare them to begin planning the changes they intend to make following the second workshop. (The task will take approximately two hours).

 A customised approach

 Engaging Families in Children’s Education is designed to provide explicit opportunities for differentiation based on local challenges. Each group of delegates, by bringing their experiences and the contexts in which they work, will help to shape the focus of the workshops they attend.

We recognise that for many delegates, there will be challenges in working with harder to reach families. The trainers’ commitment, knowledge and experience means that they can facilitate these very participative workshops to customise the programme to be relevant to each group.

 The wider context

This training programme is one part of Connect’s strategy to make parental involvement in Scottish schools as good as it can be. Working with local authorities, schools, professionals and families, we are building a community of interest through a range of activities and partnership work. 

This programme continues after the two workshops, with an optional online facilitated meeting for delegates. Delegates are invited to share their completed action plans, actions, outcomes and benefits to the school community. Delegates receive resources and reference material in digital format, so that they can be shared and cascaded within the school and its community.