St Frances de Sales Catholic Junior School


The consist message from EEF is that parental engagement does have a positive impact on children’s attainment. However, the foundation recognises that it is often difficult to engage families in parental engagement programmes. Historically, this has been the case in St Francis de Sales Catholic Junior School, Walton. Recently judged as outstanding by Ofsted in all areas, Headteacher, Andy Reidel was keen for us to deliver our ‘Help Your Child Thrive’ Programme to parents of year 3 and 4 in school. With a deep understanding of the positive impact parental engagement has on children’s additional progress and the importance of maintaining parental engagement as children get older, Andy Reidel asked us deliver two 6 week programmes to parents.



To maximise impact, there are a number of processes we go through as part of the programme. The positive and warm interactions parents had already had with James Kennedy, Head of Year 3 meant that getting parents on board would be quite straight forward. The strong relationships James had worked so hard to build with parents meant that he had ‘Buy In’. Positive dialogue between James and parents about their value meant that we had the maximum amount of 10 parents attend our sessions.

Highly skilled at creating a warm and relaxed environment for parents, we were able to build trust through personal interactions, friendly chat and collaboration, helping parents understand the key role they play in their children’s learning and development.

Each session focussed on a particular area that children were working on in school and then provided parents with high quality support in the form of practical strategies with tips, support and resources to assist learning at home. Helping parents to support learning and development in oracy, confidence, resilience, aspirations, self-regulation, reading, writing and maths meant that they could embed what was learned in school in a fun, relaxed way. Parents gained so much confidence in their own abilities throughout the process. Giving parents the knowledge and skills to provide the right support really did have a positive impact on engagement with learning as methods used at home in maths for example were those used in school.

Positive, encouraging texts during the week to parents often sparked a series of positive interactions where parents describe how they’d supported their children and the impact this had. A snapshot of this is captured in our impact booklet.

We know that building strong and effective relationships between school and parents requires sustained effort over time and that is why even when the course ends, we continue to support the parents through regular texts and letting them know they can get in touch with us for further support if needed. The trust we build with parents over the weeks means they are likely to ask for further support if needed.

We can’t wait to come back next term to run another programme for parents!

Feedback from school

Thank you for helping me believe I can actually make a difference. I’d not enjoyed school myself and didn’t think I was good enough to help. You’ve given me the skills to help my daughter in so many ways. I’m proud that I can do maths with her now.

Christine, parent, St Francis de Sales Catholic Junior School

I can really see the importance of reading with and alongside my child, modelling to him. Our sessions in the library were the perfect environment!

Charlie, parent, St Francis de Sales Catholic Junior School

My son loves the games where I ask him ‘Why?’ and he has to justify his reasoning. He keeps running back from the school line to say, ‘Mum please ask me one more question!’

Clare, parent, St Francis de Sales Catholic Junior School

“Thanks for running this. It’s definitely been the most successful and well-attended link we have ever had with parents.  The parental engagement we’ve been trying to get for so long has definitely made these sessions worthwhile”

James Kennedy, Head of Year 3, St Francis de Sales Catholic Junior School