The vital role of parents and guardians in preparing children for successful futures

There are many things a student needs to consider and plan for when exploring their post-secondary options. While it’s important for students to take ownership of their future planning, the caring adults in their lives play an essential supporting role, especially since parental engagement in a child’s education has been proven to have both positive academic and social outcomes.

The home–school partnership

There is a strong, unspoken partnership that exists between parents and educators. And when it comes to future planning and the life skills students require beyond the classroom years, this partnership is crucial.

This partnership is strengthened when parents demonstrate involvement and show that their child’s education is important in the home setting. Examples of this might include: reviewing their student’s work, understanding what is expected of their child, and supporting classroom learning at home.

Research shows that improving parental engagement benefits outcomes for young people, and that when schools and parents work together to support learning, young people enjoy school more, perform better in school, and stay in school longer.

Careers leaders or those senior leaders with responsibility for careers education will already know that parental engagement is critical to supporting students in their career journey. Collaborating with parents and guardians is part of the Gatsby Benchmarks for good career guidance; in particular, Gatsby Benchmark 1 (a stable careers programme) and Gatsby Benchmark 2 (learning from career and labour market information).

Raising student aspirations

In their 2018 report, the Education Endowment Fund found that: “evidence from our Teaching and Learning Toolkit suggests that effective parental engagement can lead to learning gains of +3 months over the course of a year.”

For there to be any real positive impact on students from their parents’ engagement, more involvement is needed by parents than simply just attending parents’ evenings. But when many parents are at the end of their bandwidth already, how can schools get them involved in a realistic manner?

According to chartered psychologist and teacher Dr Jo Sullivan-Lyons, there are a few things that parents can do at home to support their child’s learning and future readiness. Some of these, outlined in the presentation ‘Best practice methods to engage parents to raise aspirations across the family unit’, include communicating the value of education, having high aspirations for their children, and supporting these aspirations with sensible plans for achieving them.

For many students, their grasp of career options can be limited to the careers they see play out amongst family, at school with educators, or in the media. But, schools and parents can also work together to expose students to as many career paths as possible. Inviting families to participate in a Career Day or to drop in for a quick career Q&A session during class is a great way to both involve families in future-readiness initiatives and expose kids to more career pathways.

And, if there are specific skills your school is looking to improve with students, such as writing or a SEL topic, schools can also invite parents with different jobs to speak to students with an emphasis on why that skill is important to their career path.

Having both educators and guardians on the same page when it comes to a student’s future goals helps keep students engaged and encourages them to continue pursuing their journey to career readiness.

However, collaboration between families and educators can be challenging, due in part to busy schedules, unclear lines of communication, and a lack of shared understanding about students’ future goals and plans. This is where Career Leaders and educators can leverage future-readiness programs to align everyone around a student’s future plans.

Leveraging edtech to empower students and guardians

For many students, planning for the future can be overwhelming, but Career Leaders can give students the confidence to succeed in their own unique future by equipping them with the tools that will empower them for whatever lies ahead. This is where careers education and future-readiness software like Xello comes in.

Xello is an online careers education program that helps students prepare for the future. It offers a variety of activities that help them discover new careers and learn about different pathways and options. As they explore their future options, students create actionable plans they can be proud to achieve.

And, Xello provides parents and guardians with visibility into their child’s future goals and plans with the Family Portal feature. Xello Family bridges the gap between the educator, the families, and the student with an intuitive platform that keeps everyone focused on the mission of supporting a student on their journey to future readiness.

The read-only experience of the Family Portal helps parents and guardians gain a deeper understanding of their child’s interests, goals, and plans so they can support them along the way. Similar to the educator experience, families can see the student’s progress on lessons, assessments, career, college, apprenticeship, and university exploration. With built-in guidance, educators can also feel confident that parents and guardians will be able to explore Xello on their own.

Ready to learn more from education industry experts?

If you’re interested in learning more about how to prepare today’s young people for tomorrow, watch the on-demand video of our webinar, ‘Are your students future ready?’, by visiting this link.

You might also like: How edtech can support wellbeing in schools

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