Last Updated: Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Engaging parents and families in their children’s learning through family fun groups – Abercromby Primary School

What is this?

This practice exemplar explains how one primary school used family fun groups to engage parents in their children’s learning, improve communications across the whole school and engage with the wider parent body.

Who is this for?

This exemplar will be useful for practitioners across all sectors and in the community who work with parents and families.

Explore this exemplar

What was done?

Parental engagement within Abercromby Primary School is taken forward by a team of staff from across the school.

Staff were keen to build relationships with parents and families to help them feel more comfortable to come into school and work with them to improve outcomes for their children.

Approaches to engaging with parents had been positive but these followed the more traditional formats such as open afternoons and sharing learning through assemblies.

In consultation with staff and parents, it was highlighted that some families faced barriers which prevented them from engaging in their child’s learning and with the school. Parents were also unsure about the range of events going on at school.

Using the data gathered from the consultation, staff created a family room in the school to: give parents the opportunity to come into a nurturing safe space; feel less anxious; discuss any concerns; work alongside, play and learn with their children; be supported by staff at the same time in a non-threatening environment.

A school app was developed to help keep parents informed about their child’s learning and the school’s calendar of events.

Staff and parents discussed the types of activities that they would like to do and what would be helpful. Activities were then arranged and tailored to meet the needs and interests of families. Families now have the opportunity to attend a block of 6 family fun sessions on different themes.

The Family Fun sessions have been added to the school’s wider calendar of activities aimed at helping families to learn together. The sessions are designed to work towards a change in culture in how the whole school engages families. Gaining a more sustained and effective approach to involving and engaging parents in their children’s learning and the wider life of the school and community is a key priority.


Depute Headteacher


Teaching staff






The results of the survey with parents showed that working patterns and childcare were barriers to getting involved in events going on in school. Parents were keen to be engaged in their children’s learning but they weren’t always aware of the range of events that the school provided.

Parents were often invited into larger events. Staff were keen to engage with parents in a much more supported smaller environment. This would help build relationships, help parents be more relaxed and allow staff and families to get to know each other better.

Developing positive relationships and involving all parents in their children’s learning and the wider life of the school is central to raising attainment.

What was the impact?

The school is able to evidence:

  • Increased parental engagement in children’s learning amongst parents and families who have not previously engaged
  • Children are more settled and ready to learn.
  • The majority of parents are engaging with their child’s learning and communicating with staff via the school app
  • Parents feel listened to and involved in the life of the school and the wider community
  • Communications between parents and their children has improved and reduced frustration and anxiety at home
  • Improved relationships between home and school
  • Improved children’s experiences of school and learning
  • Increased focus amongst pupils and families to learn
  • Reduced isolation amongst families
  • Greater links and partnerships with the wider school community and local businesses

How to use this exemplar to improve practice?

The exemplar along with the reflective questions can be used to help practitioners consider their own approaches to involving and engaging families in their setting/school. You are invited to read the exemplar and then consider, individually or as a team, the following reflective questions.

Reflective questions:

  • What strategies do you use to identify potential barriers to parental participation?
  • What barriers are preventing your families from engaging with your setting/school and/or their child’s learning? How are these being addressed?
  • How effectively do you support all parents and families in your setting/school to engage in their child’s learning?
  • How well do you seek out and respond positively to potential partnerships which lead to better outcomes for the children and families you work with?