How to engage your parent community with online tutoring

Advice from our Teacher Advisory Board and MyTutor team on how to improve parental engagement in your school
Time to read
3 mins

As you know, getting parental buy-in for your school initiatives can make all the difference. In fact, the Education Endowment Foundation found that “the average impact of parental engagement in education approaches is about 4 months progress throughout the year.” 

However, getting parents involved in their child’s education and additional learning interventions such as online tutoring is much easier said than done. As many schools are finding, post-covid parental engagement has fallen significantly, which is leading to lower attendance and many headaches for school leaders. 

Our Teacher Advisory Board agrees, sharing that since the pandemic they too have struggled to reengage their parent community, with knock-on effects for disengaged pupils. 

So, what can schools do to improve parental engagement? Find out our top tips and advice gleaned from helping thousands of schools engage parents in online tutoring. And best of all these tips apply to your wider school community too, find out more below!

Why is parental engagement important? 

First, it’s important to remind ourselves why parental engagement is so important. Some of the biggest challenges schools face right now are pupil apathy and engagement post-pandemic. Our Advisory Board member, Fiona Shaw says: “Without [it], all of the other challenges would be easier.” Getting parents engaged in their child's education can go a long way to improving pupil engagement. 

The top ways engaged parents can support your pupils: 

Improve attendance 

From reminding their child of lessons to disciplining them for not attending - parental engagement can improve attendance in both school and interventions such as tutoring. 

For any school that’s struggling with attendance, seeking the support of your parent communities is a must. 

Find out more top tips for improving attendance in our blog.


Build stronger school-home relationships

Engaged parents mean schools can gain more insight into what’s going on at home and how to support their pupils with homework outside of school.

It’s also important that school is a foundational community for your learners - when parents are active in the school community the 2 can work together to create the best learning environment possible.  


Improve academic outcomes 

Parental engagement, particularly on a 1:1 basis, is shown to improve academic outcomes. This is especially true for younger pupils but still important all the way through Secondary school too. 

Although, it’s important to note that for parents to help with homework effectively (particularly at Secondary level) they'll need to have some level of subject knowledge too. Our latest parent research shows that 4 in 10 have struggled to help with Secondary homework, meaning some parents may benefit from additional support such as at-home tuition. 

You can give your schools' parents a discount on at-home tuition through our School Ambassadors Programme, sign up here if you already run programmes with us. 


How can I improve parental engagement with my tutoring programmes? 

So what does this mean for your tutoring programmes? Over the years we’ve learned a thing or two about how to engage parents with tutoring, find our top 5 tips below and remember these insights can be transferred to engaging with school at large too! 

Normalise tuition from early on 

A key piece of advice from our Advisory Board is that normalising tuition from an early age can help with parental (and pupil) buy-in. 

This can mean starting tutoring from Year 7 onwards to properly embed it as a normal part of everyday school life. Parents tend to be more engaged when their children are younger, meaning that if you can get them involved from KS3 you’re giving yourself a better chance of keeping them engaged later on. 

Communication is key

We know you’ll have many ways of engaging with parents from SMS to newsletters. When introducing an additional intervention, such as tutoring, you’ll need to use these communication channels to promote the programme. 

Remember to launch the programme by sharing the what, why and how, which includes communicating clearly why their child has been chosen for the programme and what are the benefits.

Parent's evenings are also a key time to remind parents of why their child is doing tutoring and to share any successes or concerns you may have face to face. 

Use both the carrot and stick 

Most people will respond best to a mix of ‘carrot’ (aka positive incentives) and ‘stick’ (aka negative incentives). 

With tutoring positive incentives for attendance and participation can mean vouchers, discounts and certificates. A top tip is to set incentives that also reward parents— for example, offering meal vouchers that can include parents too. 

As for the ‘stick’, some schools ask parents to contribute financially to their child's tutoring or charge fines if their child fails to attend a certain number of lessons. This reinforces the value of tutoring and the cost to the school. 

Make parents a partner 

From the outset, it’s helpful to show parents that they are a partner in their child’s education. Our research shows that parents spend on average 4 hours per week helping their child with homework, so many are invested in their child’s education.

You can use our collateral to show parents what to expect from tutoring, send them SMS reminders of lessons and share with them regular feedback on what their child is learning and how progress is going. All of this involves parents in the process. 

It’s also important to communicate what’s expected of parents and how they can help you help their child. 

Celebrate success 

As much as a carrot and stick mix works, it’s also important to celebrate successes with your parent community. At the end of a tutoring programme, make sure you share the successes of your pupils' work with parents. This could be through newsletters or letters home. And remember to thank parents for their support too!

Engaging parents in your online tutoring can make big difference to your pupil's outcomes. While there’s no quick fix to do this, there are plenty of things you can do as a school to improve engagement. 

If you’d like further support from MyTutor on just this, or anything else, get in touch with our team today

Talk to us today

We'd love to hear all about your school's needs

Get in touch