Australia’s national education evidence body

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There is a great deal of evidence that families play a critical role in their child’s learning. So how can primary school teachers and leaders best work with families for learning?

This guide makes recommendations based on the best available research evidence about how primary school teachers and leaders can engage with families to bring about improvements in students’ learning outcomes.1 It sets out ‘promising’ and ‘not promising’ approaches drawn from multiple studies which have measured the effects of different strategies. While there is room for improvements in the quality of available research evidence,2 these approaches provide ‘best bets’ for guiding practice. This guide also sets out next steps for considering how the findings relate to your individual practice or whole school strategy.

Note that some of the examples offered may not apply in all contexts. Reasonable adjustments should be made where necessary to ensure full access and participation for all families.

Promising

Research evidence shows these approaches for engaging with families can have a measurable positive effect on student learning outcomes. While some promising approaches may seem obvious, the key is that they have been shown to improve student learning outcomes when they are implemented well.

Not promising

Research evidence shows these approaches are risky. They may have no effect or, in some cases, even have a negative effect on primary school students’ learning outcomes.

Where to next?

Consider which of the following scenarios most closely resembles your current practices.

For more information

This is a very short summary of recommendations drawn from the research evidence. To check how we synthesised the most rigorous and relevant approaches from meta-analyses, systematic reviews and primary studies, see the following:

Brief methodology

This explainer describes the process we followed to synthesise the available research evidence on family engagement.
Learn more

Detailed methodology

This detailed methodology describes the processes we followed to synthesise the available research evidence on family engagement for learning.
Learn more

Family engagement practice guides

Practice guides for practitioners about engaging with families to support children's early learning and development and students' learning outcomes.

Annotated reference list

Research evidence cited in the family engagement practice guides is provided in this list.

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