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Parental Partnerships for Tech Skills

Anyone working in urban development will be familiar with the phrase Public-Private-Partnerships, or PPP’s.  Such partnerships are very common in the delivery of skills, careers and education programmes, with Education Authorities partnering closely with local businesses in cities across Europe to improve the employability skills of students.

The mutual benefits of collaboration for all parties is clear to see;

However, there’s also a raft evidence to suggest that actively involving parents in the delivery of skills programmes – particularly tech skills programmes – can also deliver significant benefits.  

Reviews of the evidence of the impact of parental engagement on children’s education and achievement has shown that parental involvement has a beneficial impact on children’s educational outcomes1.

Some authors2 have also suggested that such engagement is vital to overcoming ‘digital exclusion’, as many parents don’t necessarily possess the skills, or in some cases the internet connectivity to enable their children to master digital technologies or take advantage of ‘Ed-tech’.

Families also play a big part in influencing and supporting student’s subject choice and the evidence suggests that some parents – particularly those from disadvantaged communities and/or ethnic minorities – can tend to see ‘tech’ careers as ‘not particularly for them’3.

One initiative that has sought to tackle this issue is the Educational Innovation Network in Viladecans, in Spain, a network which brings businesses, schools, parents and teachers together to try and tackle educational attainment in an integrated way.

One of the main projects of the network to date, has been to invest in technological devices in schools, and support teachers, students and families to better utilise them.

Having been awarded an URBACT ‘Good Practice’ label last year, Viladecans has just joined forces with the cities of Tallinn (EE) and Nantes (FR) to develop the WetrEIN Transfer Network.

This Transfer Network has recently been awarded some initial resources to explore the potential of extending this partnership further to identify other relevant partners, develop a shared understanding of the Good Practice to be transferred, explore the conditions and requirements for a successful transfer in the local context, and define the methodology for transferring the activities.

If successful at the end of this process, they may be awarded further funds to Transfer the Best Practice.   

1 Desforges The Impact of Parental Involvement, Parental Support and Family Education on Pupil Achievement and Adjustment: A Literature Review, Department of Education and Skills (2003); Harris and Goodall, Helping Families Support Children’s Success at School. London, Save the Children. (2008, 2009) and Lindsay Parent Support Advisor Pilot Evaluation Final Report. London, DCSF. (2009)

2 Lewin and Luckin, Technology to Support Parental Engagement in Elementary Education: Lessons Learned from the UK, Computers and Education, (2010)

3 Lightbody, P. & Durndell, A. (1996). Gendered career choice: Is sex-stereotyping the cause or the consequence? Educational Studies;