Reimagining education: The role of parents beyond the pandemic

On Tuesday 27th April we hosted a webinar with Dame Julia Cleverdon Deputy Chair of the Fair Education Alliance where we launched our first charity impact report. With education experts including Janet Goodall of Swansea University we discussed our impact over the last year and set out to reimagine the role of parents in tackling long-term educational inequality. Watch the event in full…

The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that almost half (49%) of the disadvantage gap at age 11 is explained by parents’ own education, attitudes and behaviours. Compare this to just 14% attributed to school factors and it becomes clear why researchers have been calling for a fundamental rethinking of how our education system tackles inequality.

Moderated by Dame Julia Cleverdon, this event brought together education sector experts, funders, teachers and parents to explore how we can build a post-COVID education system in which every child is supported at home to fulfil their potential.

We reflected on a seismic year for home learning and set out to reimagine the role of parents in tackling long-term educational inequality.

The importance of parental engagement

Our CEO Tom Harbour discussed the stories that influence our work, as well as sharing our long-term vision for parental engagement in the UK. Research shows that parents facing disadvantage have the same love and the same hopes and dreams for their children, but many parents struggle to convert their good intentions into daily habits and routines in how they interact with their children. The fact that this leads to so much inter-generational inequality should be a national outrage, but there is little focus from policy makers on supporting parents. Why? Because working with parents is hard. Because working with parents means working deep in communities, getting your hands dirty with the whole range of complex challenges that disadvantage brings up. 

Parents are an untapped resource. Covid has shown how much families can do, and we have heard of many families supporting their children’s education for the first time. By truly listening to all parents, not just the loudest and most involved, we can design solutions that break these barriers down.

A teacher’s perspective

Louise Kwa of Beckford Primary School discussed her experiences of lockdown learning as a primary teacher and Maths Lead, and how the Learning with Parents programme has benefited her school. She shared the experiences of two of her students, Alex and Samuel.

Alex’s parents were educated abroad and have experienced a lot of confusion in trying to adapt to the English education system, particularly in Maths. Alex’s father found that using Learning with Parents enables him to teach himself, and he was therefore better able to support her learning. He is now confident enough to adapt the activities and resources to Alex’s needs and interests.

During lockdown, Samuel’s mum had multiple responsibilities that made working one-to-one with Samuel very difficult. She found that the work set on Google classroom was too large a commitment. As she was already familiar with Learning with Parents, these videos and activities were more accessible. This was a common them amongst many parents at Beckford – it became clear that many of the children and parents enjoyed the Learning with Parents more than formal lessons and found them more achievable.

How we support disadvantaged families 

Our Programme Director Lucy Preston described how Learning with Parents partners with primary schools to support parental engagement. Our programme is specifically designed to support the most disadvantaged families. Find out more about how we partner with schools…

Why parents don’t need to feel bad about ‘lost learning’ 

We also heard from Dr Janet Goodall on the deficit narrative surrounding home learning. There has been much unhelpful discourse around ‘lost learning’ during lockdown. This discourse fails to recognise that learning doesn’t just happen in schools. Children will have benefited from having one-to-one support at home and will have gained different skills from those they might build at school.

Equally problematic is the term ‘achievement gap’, which puts the emphasis on students. A more helpful term is ‘educational debt’. We as a society owe our children a debt. We owe our children and our young people the best education we can give them. If there is an achievement gap, it’s because we are not doing our job properly. 

There have been some silver linings to come out of lockdown in terms of parental engagement; there has been an increase in understanding between schools and parents, as well as increased recognition in the important role parents play. Moving forward, changes need to happen to make parental engagement an integral part of the education landscape. Parental engagement must be included in Initial Teacher Education and Continuing Professional Development. 

Parents shouldn’t feel bad about lost learning, but we must not let this become a lost opportunity to change the landscape of learning, education and schooling. 

Innovation in EdTech

Silvia Pau, Assistant Program Manager at Nesta, spoke about their EdTech R&D programme. EdTech tools have the potential to benefit disadvantaged students, but there are a number of barriers to overcome in equalising what EdTech offers. Learning with Parents was chosen to be one of the six organisations to be a part of this programme based on our scientific rigour and innovation. Read more about the programme…

Credit Suisse and Learning with Parents in partnership 

Colin Hely-Hutchinson of Credit Suisse discussed why educational inequality is a focus for the foundation and why they chose to work with Learning with Parents. One of the foundations priorities is future skills, an area where Learning with Parents has a huge impact. Credit Suisse were attracted to Learning with Parents partly due to the inter-generational impact of our work, with both parents and children learning through our programme. Credit Suisse has not only provided Learning with Parents with grant support since 2018 but has also supported us through their Credit Suisse Family Network and HR support.  

Empowering all families 

Amy Mitchell, Chair of Trustees for Learning with Parents, shared highlights from Learning with Parents’ 2020 impact report. From releasing our programme for free to all UK schools during the first lockdown in March 2020, to successfully registering as a charity in June, this has been a pivotal year for our organisation. We worked with over 24,000 families, over double our previous amount. Read the report in full to find out more…

 
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Terms and Conditions

PARTIES

(1) MATHS WITH PARENTS LIMITED incorporated in England and Wales with company number 9622195 whose registered office is 59 Church Lane, Wool, Dorset, BH20 6DD (Company);

(2) Your school or setting (School);

WHEREAS

(A) The Company has developed a programme to motivate and empower parents to engage in their child’s learning.

(B) The School wishes to use the Company’s programme to help their children and families.

(C) The Company has agreed to grant access to sections of its website to the relevant school staff and families.

(D) The Company has agreed to provide and the School has agreed to pay for access to the Company’s website on the terms and conditions of this Agreement.

IT IS HEREBY AGREED AS FOLLOWS

1. Definitions

The definitions and rules of interpretation in this clause apply in this Agreement:

 • “Initial Price” is the price for the Initial Subscription Term. This is calculated by the “Price Calculation”.

 • “Initial Subscription Term” means the initial term which shall begin on the date this contract is entered into and end after one calendar year.

 • “Intellectual Property Rights” means patents, rights to inventions, copyright and related rights, trade marks and service marks, business names and domain names, goodwill and the right to sue for passing off or unfair competition, rights in designs, database rights, rights to use, and protect the confidentiality of, confidential information (including know-how) and all other intellectual property rights, in each case whether registered or unregistered and including all applications and rights to apply for and be granted, renewals or extensions of, and rights to claim priority from, such rights and all similar or equivalent rights or forms of protection which subsist or will subsist now or in the future in any part of the world.

 • “Learning with Parents Package” means a section of the Company’s website personalised for the School that contains the Videos provided by the Company via the Website or any other website notified to the School by the Company from time to time.

 • “Ongoing Price” means the price for the applicable Ongoing Subscription Term calculated by the Company. This will be shared with the school at least 30 days prior to the renewal date. It is dependent on the number of classes whose parents or carers are offered access to the Learning with Parents Package, as reported by the School in accordance with clause 4.5 below.

 • “Ongoing Subscription Term” means the term which shall begin at the end of the previous Subscription Term and last for one year.

 • “Permitted Users” means the School’s current staff, and parents and carers of pupils currently at the School, in each case as at the applicable time of use.

 • “Price” means, in respect of the Initial Subscription Term, the Initial Price or the Ongoing Price, in respect of the applicable Ongoing Subscription Term.

 • “Price Calculation” means the value calculated using the formula agreed upon initial sign-up, or updated upon renewal.

 • “Subscription Term” means the Initial Subscription Term or the Ongoing Subscription Term, as applicable.

 • “Videos” means the videos provided within the Learning with Parents Package which consist of short clips of children explaining school techniques and are supported by related activities that parents can complete with their child.

 • “Website” means mathswithparents.com, dev.learningwithparents.com/learningwithparents, englishwithparents.com or any subdomain of those domains, as appropriate.

2. Learning with Parents Package

In consideration of the School paying the applicable Price to the Company (in accordance with clause 5 below) the Company grants the School a nonexclusive, non-transferable, revocable licence to access, and to allow the Permitted Users to access, the Learning with Parents Package during the Subscription Term.

3. Company’s Obligations

Subject to payment by the School of the Price (in accordance with clause 5 below), and compliance by the School with its obligations under clause 4 below, the Company agrees to:

3.1 provide the Learning with Parents Package to the School and use reasonable endeavours to ensure it can be accessed by the Permitted Users at all reasonable times.

3.2 work with the School to support increased parental engagement

4. School’s Obligations

4.1 provide the Company with such information and materials as the Company may reasonably require to supply the Learning with Parents Package and ensure that such information is accurate in all material respects;

4.2 ensure that only the Permitted Users use the Learning with Parents Package and that they do so inaccordance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement;

4.3 allow the use of the School’s name and logo on the Company’s website and marketing materials;

4.4 no later than 30 days prior to each Subscription Term, provide an accurate estimate of the number of classes whose parents or carers will be offered access to the Learning with Parents Package.

5. Payment

5.1 The Company shall invoice the School up to 30 days prior to the start of each Subscription Term, or earlier if requested by the School, in respect of the Initial price or Ongoing Price, as applicable.

5.2 The School agrees to pay each invoice submitted by the Company within 30 days of the date of the invoice to the account specified in the invoice.

6. Intellectual Property Rights

6.1 No part of the Website including but not limited to the Learning with Parents Package and Videos may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means to anyone other than the Permitted Users without the prior express written consent of the Company.

6.2 The School acknowledges and agrees that the Company owns all Intellectual Property Rights in the Website, the Learning with Parents Package and the Videos and except as expressly stated herein, this Agreement does not grant the School any rights to or in such Intellectual Property Rights. 

6.3 The School shall promptly give notice in writing to the Company in the event that it becomes aware of any infringement of any Intellectual Property Rights owned by the Company.

7. Termination

7.1 Without limiting its other rights or remedies each party may terminate this Agreement with immediate effect by giving written notice to the other party if:

7.1.1 the other party commits a material breach of its obligations under this Agreement and (if such breach is remediable) fails to remedy the breach within 30 days after receipt of notice in writing to do so; or

7.1.2 the other party’s financial position deteriorates to such an extent that its capability to adequately fulfil its obligations under the Agreement has been placed in jeopardy.

7.2 Without limiting its other rights or remedies the Company may terminate this Agreement with immediate effect if the School fails to pay any amount due under this Agreement on the due date for payment.

7.3 If the Agreement is terminated pursuant to this clause 7 during a Subscription Term, there will be no refund to the School of the amount of any Price paid by the School in respect of that Subscription Term.

8. Renewal

At the end of each Subscription Term, this Agreement shall automatically renew for one additional year as an Ongoing Subscription Term unless written notice of non-renewal is provided to the Company by the School at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the then-current Subscription Term. 

9. Indemnity

The School shall indemnify the Company for any loss suffered by the Company as a result of the School breaching its obligations under this Agreement.

10. Variation

No variation of this Agreement shall be effective unless it is in writing and signed by the parties (or their authorised representatives).

11. Entire Agreement

11.1 This Agreement constitutes the entire Agreement between the parties and supersedes all previous agreements, arrangements and understandings between them, whether written or oral, relating to its subject matter.

11.2 Each party agrees that it shall have no remedies in respect of any statement, representation, assurance or warranty (whether made innocently or negligently) that is not set out in this Agreement.

11.3 Each party agrees that it shall have no claim for innocent or negligent misrepresentation or negligent misstatement based on any statement in this Agreement.

12. Assignments

Neither party shall assign, transfer, subcontract, or deal in any other manner with any or all of its rights and obligations under this Agreement without the prior written consent of the other party.

13. Counterparts

This Agreement may be executed in any number of counterparts, each of which when executed shall constitute a duplicate original, but all the counterparts shall together constitute the one agreement.

14. Third Party Rights

This Agreement does not confer any rights on any person or party other than the parties to this Agreement and where applicable their successors and permitted assigns pursuant to the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

15. Governing Law

This Agreement and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with it or its subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims) shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales.

16. Jurisdiction

Each party irrevocably agrees that the courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with this Agreement or its subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims).

The parties acknowledge that they have read and understand this Agreement and voluntarily accept the duties and obligations set forth herein.