From Mr Nightingale

Five questions parents can ask their children

It’s well known that the most significant factor influencing a student’s achievement at school is not the school they attend. In most cases, it’s not even the teachers in the classroom! While the school and teachers have a very important impact, of course, the most important factor that influences student achievement isn’t located at school at all – it’s the parents!

I believe that most parents and carers understand this instinctively when their children are very young. It’s often the case, too, that when a child first commences school, the parents take a real interest in everything that he or she is learning, and they do their very best to support this at home. As children progress through high school, however, many parents begin to feel less confident about staying involved in their child’s education. And teenagers themselves often send subtle signals (or obvious ones) that they wouldn’t mind if the parents stepped back just a little from what’s happening at school.

So, then, how can high school parents remain involved in their child’s learning?

The exact types of involvement will naturally change over time, but it is crucially important for every student to know that their parents/carers place a high value on their education. It is also crucial for students to understand that their parents take an active interest how well they are learning, and they will help them to locate assistance if they experience any difficulties.

Here are five questions you can ask your child to help them understand this:

Q1. What did you learn today in … (subject)?

Q2. How well did you do?

Q3. What did you do if you didn’t understand?

Q4. How could you improve on your learning?

Q5. What aspect of your learning are you proud of?

If your child is learning well in high school, they should be able to give clear answers to these questions. If they are struggling or disengaged, however, their answers will tend to be very short or vague. Either way, you will have sent an important message about your involvement, and you will also have gained some insight into how they are learning. If you ask again after a week or two, and then again after yet another week or two, you will start to form a clearer picture of whether they are thriving at school, or stuck.

Please don’t hesitate to let us know what you find.

Kind regards,

Michael Nightingale

Director of Teaching & Learning