The importance of student and parent voice in driving school improvement: The evidence from New South Wales

Family wellbeing
Wednesday 25 July, 1440 – 1500


Ian McCarthy
New South Wales Department of Education

The evidence demonstrates that parental involvement in their child’s education has a strong, positive impact on academic and non-academic student outcomes, and that parents are key sources of support for learning.
This presentation will discuss findings from an annual survey of students, parents and teachers from over 1,000 government schools in New South Wales (NSW) and show, in particular, how support for learning is provided and experienced at home.

The parent survey is part of the suite of Tell Them From Me surveys offered to NSW government schools each year. It helps to clarify and strengthen the important relationship between parent, child and school by providing an evidence-based platform to capture parent voice.

Responses from parents offer insight into how frequently and what types of supportive practices they are providing at home. The student survey provides feedback to schools on how much support they receive from their teachers and parents.

Key findings are that students’ perceptions of parent support steadily decline as they move through secondary school. This decline is observed across student gender and socioeconomic groups. Parents in NSW also report engaging less frequently with their children about schooling as they get older, with this decline starting as early as Year 4.
Strategies for home and school partnerships to foster positive and supportive learning environments are discussed, complemented by case studies and qualitative interviews with NSW schools. We will also show how schools can use survey data to monitor the impact of their parent and community engagement initiatives.