London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Parental Engagement, Learning in Families and Technology

Funded by:



November 2008- August 2009

Summary of Findings:

This research focused on parents and their views and experiences of communicating with schools and using technologies in the home. Through focus groups with diverse parents of children in Key Stage 2 and 3, and interviews with relevant school and local authority staff, the report makes recommendations on what parents want and need and how best to harness technology to engage parents in their children's learning.

The research found that schools are using a variety of media to communicate messages to parents. However, at this stage, technology is facilitating mainly administrative and organisational communication. Parents want more information from schools on:

  • what their children are learning
  • how children are being taught
  • how they can support their children's learning
  • what role technology can play in this.

The roll-out of learning platforms has the potential to facilitate more complex, personalised communication between teachers, pupils and parents about learning. There is also the potential for reciprocal relationships and mutual knowledge exchange. However, it is too early to evaluate the success of this.

Despite efforts, schools do not appear to play a major role in the learning that occurs in families. There is reluctance among parents to intervene too much in their children's formal learning and this often relates to a fear of doing something wrong. Children are reported to be using technology in the home, but this is often done alone, or with parents taking a purely supervisory role. A mistrust, or 'fear' of technology, and the discomfort at being taught by a child, are both key barriers to parental engagement and learning in families. Nevertheless, learning in families can also be one of the key ways in which some adults learn about technology (that is, learning from their children) and this opportunity could be utilised more.

The Parental Engagement, Learning in Families and Technology Report can be viewed here:


Project Team

Sumi Hollingworth

Kuyok Abol Kuyok

Kim Allen

Katya Williams

Ayo Mansaray

Anthea Rose



Sumi Hollingworth



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