Key Voices #137 – Engaging all parents in their children’s learning with Tom Harbour from Learning with Parents

“The research found that by age 11 the disadvantage gap, which by that age is nine months, only 14% of that gap is related to what happens at school, whereas 49% of that gap is related to what happens at home... I realised we couldn’t leave it all up to schools and I couldn’t fix it all in my classroom*”

This week we talk to Tom Harbour, CEO of Learning with Parents about how schools can make engaging parents in their children’s learning inclusive. Tom tells us why he was motivated to set up an organisation focussed on parental engagement. Tom shares what he has learned about how to break down all possible barriers and help every parent access ways to support their children at school. 

We talk about:
  • Why Tom set up Learning with Parents and how it has developed
  • The various different strands to Learning with Parents’ work 
  • What Tom and his team have learnt about effective pupil engagement, with a particular focus on how to make activities fully inclusive 
  • Tom’s reflections on how schools and parents can best work together to support learning 
  • What Tom thinks the impact of partial school closures has been on parental engagement 


  • You can learn more about Learning with Parents here.

    *You can read the original report from The Joseph Rowntree Foundation that Tom quotes here.

    “And his mum wrote in the feedback “‘Isaac and I really enjoyed playing the game about number bonds. He sat on my lap and I can’t remember the last time he sat on my lap.’ I read that and I thought ‘who cares about the number bonds? There is something bigger at stake here.’” 

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