Last Updated: Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Engaging parents and families in their children’s learning – Holyrood Secondary School – Glasgow City Council

What is this?

This practice exemplar explains how one secondary school used a family games night to engage parents in their children’s learning, improve communications across the whole school and engage with the wider parent body.

Who is this for?

This exemplar will be useful for practitioners across all sectors and in the community who work with parents and families.

Explore this exemplar

How to use this exemplar to improve practice

The exemplar along with the reflective questions can be used to help practitioners consider their own approaches to involving and engaging families in their setting/school. You are invited to read the exemplar and then consider, individually or as a team, the following reflective questions.

Reflective questions:

  • What opportunities do you provide all parents and families in your setting/school to engage in their child’s learning? Do you have information on how best to support this at home?
  • What barriers are preventing your families from engaging with your setting/school and/or their child’s learning? How are these being addressed?
  • Do all parents have regular opportunities to contribute to the improvement journey and the wider life of the setting/school?

What was done?

Parental engagement within Holyrood Secondary School is taken forward by a group of staff from across the various curriculum areas.

Although approaches to engaging with parents had been positive, these had historically been of a more traditional format.

In consultation with staff and parents, it was highlighted that some families faced barriers which prevented them from engaging in their child’s learning and with the school.  Using the data gathered from the consultation, a bespoke idea of having a Family Games Night was one of the methods discussed by staff and parents to address this.

Using games (eg board games, activities) which were linked to the various curriculum areas helped ensure families had opportunities to have fun and learn together.  This learning could then be replicated at home.

The Family Games Night has been added to the school’s wider calendar of activities aimed at helping families to learn together.  It is also designed to work towards a change in culture in how the whole school engages families and to gain a more sustained approach.



The results of the survey with parents showed that they were keen to be engaged in their children’s learning but they didn’t know how to be involved.

Parents were looking for ways to engage with their child’s learning that synergised with their home life and linked with the various curricular areas.

Developing positive relationships and involving all parents in their children’s learning and the wider life of the school is central to raising attainment.

What was the impact?

The school is able to evidence:

  • Increased parental engagement in children’s learning amongst parents and families who have not previously engaged
  • Parents feel listened to and involved in the life of the school and the wider community
  • Communications between parents and their children has improved and reduced frustration and anxiety at home
  • Improved relationships between home and school
  • Improved children’s experiences of school and learning
  • Increased focus amongst pupils and families to learn
  • Reduced isolation amongst families
  • Greater links and partnerships with the wider school community


PDF file: Games night letter to parents and carers (62 KB)

PDF file: Games night invitation (202 KB)

PDF file: Games night poster pupil (476 KB)

PDF file: Floor map games night (313 KB)

PDF file: Games night hand out (447 KB)

PDF file: Board games table (60 KB)

Powerpoint file: Minute to win it certificate (413 KB)

Word file: Games night evaluation questionnaire (14 KB)