Dimension: parents and carers as partners

This dimension is part of the Community Engagement in Learning priority.


Parents and carers as partners encompass children's learning and development at home, at school and in communities. Parents and carers provide learning opportunities at home and in communities, creating connections between learning at school and learning outside of school. When schools and families work together, children can become more engaged with their school work, achieve better academically, stay in school longer and develop better social skills. Effective partnerships enrich wellbeing, achievement and engagement by focusing on student needs.

Improvement measures

Results from system surveys, available in Panorama, can be used to measure progress, and as success indicators. Suggested surveys include:

  • Parent Opinion Survey – the 'parent participation and involvement', 'school communication' and 'teacher communication' factors
  • School Staff Survey – the 'parent and community involvement, engagement, and outreach' and 'trust in students and parents' factors.

Supporting resources

Parent Information Kits

The VTLM Practice Principles

Information for parents


The Continuum for Parents and carers as partners describes a range of proficiency levels (Emerging, Evolving, Embedding and Excelling) that assists principals and teachers to identify areas of practice that require attention in order to deliver improved student outcomes.

Component: The school develops communication and meaningful partnerships with parents/carers/kin


Leaders provide opportunities for parents/carers/ kin to engage in decision-making activities through mechanisms such as parent associations, committees and school councils. Leaders and school councils develop policies and procedures and make them available to parents/carers/kin. Leaders and staff ensure all students, parents/carers/kin, feel safe, welcomed and supported in the school.  


Leaders, teachers and students encourage parents/carers/kin to participate in activities specifically designed to provide them with information and to engage them with school life. Leaders ensure that parents/carers/kin have opportunities to review and make suggestions about school guidelines, as well as about expectations for student learning, wellbeing and engagement. Leaders have developed clear processes for responding to parent concerns. These are well understood by parents/carers/kin.  


Leaders develop a community engagement strategy, seeking feedback from parents/carers/kin on the effectiveness of strategic plans for strengthening community engagement and the use of digital technology. Leaders periodically review existing school policies, practices and procedures, in consultation with parents/carers/kin and students, to identify issues regarding existing school processes and practice.  


Leaders and teachers establish sustainable and effective partnerships with parents/carers/ kin in which their engagement becomes embedded within the school culture. Leaders offer a range of forums in which parents are encouraged to give feedback and raise any issues or concerns. These forums can help direct the school’s future. Parents/carers/kin routinely promote the school and celebrate its achievements in the wider community.  

Component: Home learning connects with school learning


Teachers provide information to parents/carers/kin on how they can most effectively support their child’s learning, health and wellbeing using digital and other forms of communication. Teachers regularly update parents/ carers/kin on the status and progress of their child’s learning, with protocols in place to respond to issues and concerns. Teachers engage with parents/carers/kin to develop learning plans which support students with specific learning needs.  


Leaders provide multiple opportunities for parents/carers/kin to discuss with teachers their respective roles in supporting the child’s learning, health and wellbeing needs. Teachers encourage parents/carers/kin to talk with their child about what they are learning at school and actively engage in home learning activities. Leaders establish a school-wide homework policy. This includes the need for explicit teaching of study skills, expectations about the time allocated for home learning, and the requirement that teachers give students specific feedback on set homework.  


Leaders and teachers value and acknowledge the diverse expertise and experiences of parents/carers/ kin. They adapt their approaches, including through outreach and engagement in school co-curricular activities, to strengthen school and home partnerships. Teachers schedule teacher, parent/ carer and student conferences to discuss goals and targets, learning, individual progress and achievements, using technology which improves access where relevant. Teachers, parents/ carers/kin work together to consistently support and reinforce expectations about every child’s learning effort and behaviour. Teachers work with parents/carers/kin to overcome barriers to family engagement with the school, which might inhibit support for their child’s learning, health and wellbeing.  


Parents/carers/ kin uphold positive attitudes to learning, and consistently support the school’s expectations by working with teachers to set high expectations to improve outcomes for all students. Staff design, implement and evaluate effective programs designed to enhance the capacity of parents/carers/kin to support learning at home. Leaders ensure embedded school practices cater for parent/carer/ kin diversity, and that barriers to engagement are reduced or removed.

Case studies

To see examples of how schools in Victoria are implementing the FISO dimension: Parents and carers as partners see Parents and carers as partners case studies.

Evidence base

To view the Evidence Base for the FISO community engagement in learning priority area see: Evidence- Community engagement in learning evidence base.


Why should my school engage with this dimension?

Research has found that an effective partnership between parents/carers and the school:  

  • improves student learning
  • can also improve the child's wellbeing when focused on social behaviours expected of students.
To what extent is this dimension being implemented in my school?

Consider whether your school has developed partnership approaches with parents/carers where common strategies, rules, guidelines and expectations regarding learning and behaviour are in place.  

What can my school focus on?
  • Engaging with parents/carers to find out their needs, interests and preferred channels of communication and ways to be involved as partners in learning.
  • Communicating expectations of parents/carers and regularly communicating with parents/carers about what students are learning and suggesting what parents can do to help.
  • Providing parent/carer education with a view to parents helping their children better meet learning standards.
  • Providing varying opportunities for parents/carers to talk to school personnel about their child's education including information nights, well-planned parent/carer teacher conferences and family nights.
What does successful implementation look like?
  • Parents/carers are welcomed into the school community as equal partners.
  • Regular and clear communication occurs between parents/carers and school personnel about expectations and learning.
  • Parents/carers are provided with opportunities to learn about how they can support their children's learning.
  • Parents/carers promote the school and the whole school community celebrates its successes.
What strategies and actions can my school implement?
  • Develop programs and processes to welcome parents/carers as partners in their child's learning
  • Develop programs working collaboratively with parents/carers to engage and support them in their children's learning.

More information

Community Engagement in Learning Learning priority.