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Developing the most promising parental involvement interventions

Researchers: Professor Stephen Gorard

Project overview

This project was a review of the international evidence linking interventions to improve parental engagement in their children’s education with improved attainment.

The review illustrated that there is not yet enough evidence that any intervention will work, and also that a far higher standard of basic evaluation is required, and should be expected by those who commission and fund research.

Key findings
  • There is no good-quality evidence that parental involvement interventions result in improved educational outcomes, in most age groups and for most approaches.
  • The 68 studies that met minimum criteria for inclusion present a mixed and far from encouraging picture for the success of parental involvement interventions. Of the seven studies rated medium quality, four evaluated the same two interventions and suggested positive effects on attainment. One study concluded the programme in question had no effect on attainment, and two evaluations found that the relevant parental involvement programmes may have had a negative effect on the children’s attainment.
  • With that caveat, the most promising phase for parental intervention is pre-school and preparation for primary school.

The findings are summarised in a briefing paper and presented in detail in the full report.


  • Professor Stephen Gorard
    University of Birmingham

  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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