Resources to help schools engage with parents and involve them in pupils' learning

A guide to support practitioners with Parental Engagement

Parents have the biggest influence on their child’s learning. SCILT has collated a range of materials to provide practitioners with information on engaging parents and families with language learning, including examples of practice across sectors. This Toolkit features a variety of reading materials, resources, and case studies to equip practitioners with the tools they need to actively consider how to get parents and families engaged with their child’s language learning.

Here you will find examples of ways in which schools and Early Years Centres have engaged with parents and families to support language learning. Links to useful websites containing information on resources and activities have been included, the majority of which are mostly suitable in the Early Years and Primary sectors.

St Winning's Case Study - a creative approach to parental engagement with languages featuring a series of well-planned and focused BOATS days (Bring Our Adults To School). St Winning’s took language learning beyond school, collaborating with Lingo Flamingo on an intergenerational project.

Moorfoot Case Study – this case study focuses on the school providing BSL classes to support parents and families of hearing and non-hearing children within the school community.

Fife Council Family Learning Case Study - Fife Council and PowerLanguage piloted an online course for families called ‘French for Families’.  

Northern Alliance Family Learning site – this interactive resource contains a wealth of resources to support parental engagement and family learning – French, Gaelic, Spanish & German.

Argyll & Bute Council – this link provides play ideas for families to support French in the Early Years.

Springside Primary Case Study - 'Wee Famille' family learning project in North Ayrshire showcases a whole school approach to engaging parents with languages.

North Ayrshire Council Family Learning Weebly – website from the NAC Family Learning and 1+2 team has various activities to support parental engagement with languages – French and Spanish.

Danestone Primary – examples of some family cook-a-long activities which families from Danestone took part in, particularly Chinese cooking.

Parents into Spanish - every year September sees the ‘Sounds of Spanish’ event for parents of new Year 7 students.

Parental engagement and family learning - padlet with resource suggestions from some of the SCILT professional development officers.

Home, Heritage and Community Languages - portal hosted by ALL with a special focus on languages used or taught at home or within community or faith settings.

EAL Journal - NALDIC's termly magazine of practice, research and activism.

VirtuLApp - video demonstrating tools and resources to embrace multilingualism in class.

Lost Wor(l)ds - a website full of activities and ideas to help encourage and facilitate multilingualism.

Creative Language Practices - this website explores translanguaging in pedagogical contexts and beyond.

The Bell Foundation - the organisation has produced guidance for schools on working with parents to support the learning of pupils who use EAL.

Mother Tongues - parents are encouraged to be language ambassadors and a resource for the multilingual classroom.

Multilingual Learning Toolkit - ways to welcome and engage families of multilingual learners as active partners in their child's learning.

The Fable Cottage - bilingual tales for language learners.

Bilingualism Matters - resources on bilingualism and language learning from Bilingualism Matters branches and partners around the world.

All the World is Our Stage - a journey that every school can take to enhance relationships between parents, pupils and educators, raise awareness of the benefits of multilingualism and engage in creative language learning.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) - the multilingual poetry competition celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity through creative writing, and showcases the many languages spoken and learned by young people in school and at home.

You and Me Let's Talk - booklet containing useful phrases in Polish, Latvian, Irish, Lithuanian and Portuguese for Early Years settings.

EAL Highland - a range of resources to support bilingual learners of English in Highland schools.

Beginning EAL - a set of 16 topic-based workbooks providing practical, easy to use resources which support English language work in the classroom, along with a guide for teachers new to teaching EAL learners.

Little Owls Resources - free dual-language printables for Early Years.

Language Mats - a range of downloadable language mats in various languages to help students learn every day language of the classroom.

BBC Sport - clip about a deaf father's struggle going to the gym, but he's now being taught fitness through sign language by his daughter.

Bilingualism and Childhood - a study aiming to understand how growing up in a bilingual environment affects the development of children with and without autism spectrum disorders.

Autism and Bilingualism for Families - downloadable information leaflets available in a range of languages.

The Everywhere Bear - read in Gaelic by Yvonne Irving as part of the Glasgow Leaders of Early Learning Families in Partnership Project 2022.

Gaelic support for parents - Education Scotland's wakelet containing a collection of links to online materials which can be used by parents/carers to support children with learning Gaelic at home.

Parentclub - Gaelic resources and advice for parents.

Comann nam Pàrant - the national parents' advice and support organisation on Gaelic Medium Education.

Gaelic Medium Education - links to local authorities with Gaelic Medium provision.

Gaelic4Parents - website for parents and children interested and involved in Gaelic education.

Nattalingo - support for families with paid for and free French learning resources available.

Mantralingua - dual language books and bilingual books along with resources for bilingual children and parents and the multilingual classroom. Paid for resources.

Global Storybooks - a free multilingual literary resource for children and youth worldwide.

Creating a Zine - a fun activity the whole class/school can do at home with parents. Easy to do and doesn't involve a lot of preparation.

PowerLanguage - fun courses for families to learn French and Spanish at home. These courses require payment for access.

Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland - Scottish Government statistics from the annual pupil and teacher census.

Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (2016) - downloadable Scottish Government publication.

Engaging parents and families - A toolkit for practitioners - Education Scotland's practical resource for practitioners to help support partnerships with parents and families in all aspects of their children's learning.

Engaging parents and families - A toolkit for practitioners (2019) - downloadable pdf.

Collaborative family learning approach to working with ESOL parents through storytelling - a practice exemplar shows how a partnership approach helped parents, for whom English is a second or other language, to gain practical skills and knowledge to more effectively engage in their children's learning through storytelling.

Welcome to Scotland - EIS suite of educational packs to to welcome children from migrant and refugee families into Scottish schools.

Parentzone Scotland - a unique website for parents from Early Years to beyond school.

Education Endowment Foundation - four recommendations on working with parents to support their child's learning.

Parents more influential over MFL success than teachers (TES article, May 2022)

Upskilling Scotland: The future of skills and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (SCDI, 2020)

Learning languages with senior learners - information about a free, short course (24 hours of learning) aimed at people who work in senior care settings. Would that be any of the parents or guardians in your school community? Might they be interested in this learning opportunity themselves? Contact information for the Open University included.

How do you teach a language you don't speak/use? (Lorna Anderson, Queen Margaret University) - pdf version of slides from Lorna's roundtable at 'Moving Forward in L3' knowledge exchange event in September 2021. The L3 project Lorna supported in school had parents coming into school to teach their home languages to pupils.

Supporting language learning at home - Education Scotland's Parentzone website.

The Motivated Classroom podcast - Episode 58: Parental engagement and motivated language learning with Dr Chris Martin.

Parental engagement in foreign language learning (Teacher's Corner, April 2022) - a blogpost on some challenges and solutions to creating teacher-family partnerships.

Raising a truly bilingual child (New York Times, July 2017)

How involved are parents in their children's learning? (UNICEF, April 2020) - data from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS6) reveals critical insights.

Effective parental engagement: A handbook for schools - a guide produced by United Learning to help schools reflect on how to best build partnerships with parents. Some useful ideas which can be adapted to incorporate language learning.

Parental engagement in schools: Strategies for involving parents and improving pupil outcomes (Learning Ladders, June 2020) - not specific to language learning however, in this guide, you’ll learn about different areas and ways a school may wish to both engage with and involve parents to benefit pupil and family outcomes.

Languages in a nutshell - the National Parent Forum Scotland guide to learning additional languages.

Benefits of language learning - SCILT's quick guide.

Engaging parents in raising achievement: Do parents know they matter? - research project commissioned by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.

Why learning a new language is good for the whole family (National Geographic, September 2021) - ideas to make language learning a part of your family's routine.

Language learning in Anglophone countries - the book, published in 2021, covers a broad range of education sectors, including primary, secondary and tertiary settings.

University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages