LORD WANDSWORTH COLLEGE’S PARENTAL ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMME

19 Sep 2019

What is LWC’s Parental Engagement Programme (PEP)

Most schools involve parents via reports, emails, parents’ evenings and newsletters; all-important in their own right.  However, it is engagement that has produced the greatest effects on student outcomes, whether related to academic results, future salary, higher life expectancy, better mental health or enhanced parent-child relationships.

A rarity in UK schools, authentic engagement involves the school and parents working closely together to develop a common understanding about what great development looks and feels like for our children.

At LWC our programme focuses on sharing accessible, practical, research-informed strategies with all parents.  The visiting speakers involved in the PEP are all engaged, or will be, in working with staff, students or both at other times during the school year.  This focus on developing sustainable relationships enables us – the team around each young person – to develop greater shared understanding.  In time, this leads to a more coherent and effective culture around each child and a greater chance of accessing the better outcomes outlined above.

The organisation and planning of the programme is aided by a group of parents who I routinely meet with to help steer its development.  Alongside putting together the events, the team is also in the process of designing a toolkit for parents.  Far from being a silver bullet for parenting (we wish!), the toolkit will focus on a range of different topics.

As a community passionate about working with young people in a manner that will develop their character, we hope the document can then provide advice on having certain conversations and how to tackle commonly identified scenarios.  We expect the toolkit to be available from December 2019.

The PEP itself consists of a series of ‘Seminars’, ‘Working Suppers’ and ‘Working Brunches’.  The seminars are shorter sessions of around 75 minutes in duration, including questions.  The suppers and brunches are slightly different; they involve input by the external speaker sandwiched in between opportunities for tables to eat and converse, where conversations are focussed on exploring themes to develop character that have been raised by the speaker.

Alex Battison

Senior Deputy Head