Intervention details

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Parent Engagement Project

Limited for Secondary maths
No impact for Secondary reading
UK Evaluated in the UK

Intervention description

The Parent Engagement Project is a school-level intervention designed to improve secondary school pupil outcomes by engaging parents in their children’s learning. The intervention involves text messages being sent to parents using school communications systems, such as Schoolcomms. Texts sent to parents in the Parent Engagement Project cover three areas: texts informing parents in advance about dates of upcoming tests or important deadlines; texts to confirm whether homework is submitted on time or is missing; and texts giving parents brief updates on what their child learned in their lessons each day.

The messaging services offered by Schoolcomms also include requesting explanations for student absences, sending student timetables and reports, and personalising bulk email messages to parents through mail merge. Parents are able to directly reply to messages from school. Other services are also provided by Schoolcomms for dealing with areas such as payments, after-school clubs and parents evenings. The price of the service offered by Schoolcomms varies depending on the school size. Individual packages can be purchased for Messaging (available at Premium, Standard and Just Text levels), Payments, Online Reporting, Clubs and Parents Evening System, and a bundle containing all packages except Parents Evening System is also available. All packages run on an annual subscription basis.

Professional development/training

For the Parent Engagement Project, teachers attended 1.5 days of training which included instructions and practical demonstrations of how to implement the intervention.


Can be used within SIMS

Evidence Summary

The Education Endowment Foundation ran a project in 2016 investigating the effectiveness of the Parent Engagement Project, which did not show it to be effective. The study found a mean effect size of +0.03 for secondary reading, +0.07 for secondary maths, -0.01 for secondary science.

Limited for Secondary maths
No. of studies 1
No. of students 5,613
Average effect size +0.07
No impact for Secondary reading
No. of studies 1
No. of students 5,376
Average effect size +0.03
No impact for Secondary science
No. of studies 1
No. of students 4,726
Average effect size -0.01

Key research

The Education Endowment Foundation evaluation found that children who had the intervention had reduced absenteeism compared to other children. This positive result is unlikely to have occurred by chance.

Key stages

  • Key Stage 3
  • Key Stage 4


Average cost per student over 3 years: around £5.68 a year.

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