Last Updated: Thursday, December 08, 2022

Review of Learning at Home

What is this?

​​This review provides clarity and the first Scottish national definition of learning at home which is vital to help practitioners take this agenda forward.

Who is this for?

​It is expected that this research is most relevant to educators working with parents and families. These include school staff, community learning and development workers, home-link workers and family learning workers.

Findings from the Review of the impact of the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 showed that ‘there was confusion and a general lack of understanding among parents and staff about the difference between homework and the concept of learning at home’ (National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS), 2017, p19). Learning at home was also identified by Heateachers as an area for further development (NPFS, 2017).

This review provides clarity and the first Scottish national definition of learning at home which is vital to help practitioners take this agenda forward.

Research shows that learning at home can have significant immediate and longer-term impacts on children in different ways. These include a child’s early learning, later achievements, nurture, resilience, wellbeing, social mobility and skills for life.

Supporting parents to help them with their child’s learning at home is therefore ‘a vital part of improving outcomes for children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds’ (Hunt et al, 2011).​

Practitioners are encouraged to read the executive summary. More information on the Review of Learning at Home can be found in the full research document below.

How was the research carried out?

This review considers the available national and international evidence on learning at home. It identifies the various ways that learning at home impacts on children including: their early learning; later achievements; nurture; resilience; wellbeing; social mobility; and skills for life.

Case study examples of what learning at home can look like in practice have been gathered from practitioners. The case studies help provide information on the diversity of approaches across Scotland as well as further understanding of learning at home.

The complexities of how and when learning at home can happen and the need for this to be embedded into policies and strategies is also discussed.

What are the strengths of the research methodology?

In producing this review and collating the findings, Education Scotland considered national and international research evidence. The results of the review of evidence helped provide the background context for learning at home and identified the need to develop a Scottish definition. Consultation was undertaken with a range of practitioners across Scotland at workshops, conferences and research cafes on a draft definition. Feedback from the consultations helped shape the revised draft. The final version of the Scottish definition of learning at home was produced in partnership with the Scottish Parental Involvement Officers Network (SPION). Practitioners across Scotland engaged with and receptively supported the development of the review.

What is the context for this research?

The Scottish Government’s Programme for Scotland identifies a number of priorities which include:

  • Empowering parents, teachers and children to make key decisions about the life of their school.
  • An education system that will give children and young people the skills, support and experiences they need to fulfil their ambitions.
  • Building strong and safe communities.
  • Closing the attainment gap, raising attainment for all.
  • Improving the life chances of children and young people in Scotland.

Reflective questions

  • Are parents aware of the importance and influence that learning at home has on a child’s development?
  • Do parents (including absent parents) receive information about ways that they can support their child's learning at home?
  • Do parents know that members of the extended family can be involved too?
  • Is learning at home included in Parental Involvement Strategies at a regional, local or school level?
  • How does the setting/school ensure that they understand the needs of all parents and provide ways of supporting them to help their child’s learning at home?
  • What support is there within the local authority to support parents, families and children who may be experiencing difficulties?

Link(s) to full research article