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Supporting parents to support children: Raising attainment and enhancing equity

Supporting parents to support children: raising attainment and enhancing equity

This webinar provides an insight into a research project that was undertaken by the seventeen schools that make up the WOWS Consortium of schools in Wigan in response to concerns both nationally and internationally of engaging with parents/carers to promote their children’s learning. Each of the schools applied the same methodology, but with a locally determined focus.  The project was self-funded and did not draw upon any external funding. The Department for Education showed a great deal of interest in the project and sent senior civil servants to observe the key presentations.  The project ran for slightly longer than twelve months and carefully applied the research principles that had been learned whilst delivering the previous project on reducing workload around marking.  The final report was due to be published in early 2020, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the publication was delayed.  This webinar coincides with the release of the final report.

Although the report was completed before the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic impacted on schools, it has become clear during the pandemic lock-down and the subsequent continuing impact on children’s education, the role of parents and carers in supporting their children has become even more significant. The pandemic has highlighted significant gaps in attainment and the paucity of facilities available to some groups of parents and carers to support their children.

The project was supported by Tim Oates CBE, Director of Assessment and Research at Cambridge Assessment, Graham Herbert, former CEO of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors (CIEA) and Dr Mick Walker, former Executive Director of the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA).

Participants who took part in the project will provide an outline of their approach and findings and how these relate to current demands on schools as they deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The final report “Supporting parents to support children: raising attainment and enhancing equity” will be available at; from Tuesday, 10th May 2022.


Our Presenters

Janet Goodall (Chair)Janet Goodall (EdD) is a professor in the Department of Education and Childhood Studies, at Swansea University.  Her main area of research is family and parental engagement in young people’s learning.  She has researched, written and lectured widely on this topic, working with schools, families, local authorities and charitable bodies in the UK and further afield.  Her most recent book, co-authored with Dr. Kathryn Weston, 100 ideas for Secondary Teachers, Engaging Parents,  follows on from their previous book, 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers, Engaging Parents,  both available from Bloomsbury Education. 

Tim Sherriff, Headteacher, Westfield Community School – Tim has over 35 years experience as a teacher and is in his second role as a headteacher at Westfield Community School in Wigan. Tim was the Programme Lead for the ‘Supporting parents to support children’ research exercise. He was a member of the Bew Review of Key Stage 2 Testing, assessment and accountability (2011) and a member of the NAHT Commission on Assessment (2014). A longstanding member of the With Other We Succeed (WOWS) Consortium, Tim has a wealth of experience of working with a wide range of schools and in contributing to projects at a national level.

Pauline Lynch, Deputy Headteacher, Hope School and College – Hope School and College: a two to nineteen provision for children with severe learning difficulties (SLD). This project undertaken by Pauline and colleagues looked at making homework for children meaningful and developing the functional aspects of learning.

Pauline has worked in Special Education for the past twenty-five years. Her main focus is on pastoral support and development, a role that requires close liaison with many health professionals. Prior to working at Hope School, Pauline worked in Primary mainstream schools in Merseyside and Wigan teaching mainly year 6 pupils and physical education.

Helen Smart, Headteacher, Worsley Mesnes Community Primary School – Helen believes that all children can achieve more than they ever thought possible if they “learn like champions!” which is why WMCPS were thrilled to be part of the research project in supporting parents to raise attainment and enhance equity. Helen will be joined by Mrs Janette Southern.

Janette Southern, KS2 and English Lead, Worsley Mesnes Community Primary School – Janette was the school lead for the Supporting parents to support children which looked at involving parents and carers in the process of identifying barriers to learning.

Graham Herbert, Independent Researcher, Herbert Associates – Graham was a senior teacher in a large secondary school for many years. He also became a senior examiner for both general and vocational qualifications. This led to his moving to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and then to the National Assessment Agency (NAA). Whilst there he was tasked with setting up the Institute of Examiners Association (IEA) which was soon granted Chartered status and became the CIEA in 2008. From 2010 to 2012 he was Director of the CIEA and then went to work in South Africa and Australia to help set up similar organisations there. He is the author of numerous books on the subject of educational assessment and has worked in several universities where he lectured on the same subject.

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