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Parental Involvement, Engagement and Partnership in their Children’s Education during the Primary School Years


In November 2017, Marino Institute of Education (MIE) successfully tendered for a grant award jointly funded by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and the National Parents Council (NPC) to study the processes of parental involvement, engagement and partnership in their children’s learning in the primary school years.


Part 1 of the commissioned research was a review of relevant national and international literature to examine parental involvement, engagement and partnership in their children’s education in the primary years. It drew on a range of national and international research, analysed through a bioecological lens, to investigate the following research questions:

  1. What are the features of good parent-school partnerships during the primary school years focusing, in particular, on supporting all children’s learning?
  2. What role does homework play, if any, in helping parents to engage with their children’s learning during the primary school years?
  3. What are the key implications for:
    • Curriculum development?
    • For those working with parents in support roles?

part 1 cover

Part 2 of the research was twofold:  

Part 2 (A) called for the development of case studies of parental engagement in five primary schools in Ireland. The perspectives of key stakeholders were sought, including parents, teachers, children and other relevant participants.

Part 2 (B) of the research called for further engagement with the five case-study schools around involving parents with the new primary language curriculum (2015), and particular attention was given to homework which supports children’s oral language and teanga ó bhéal (NCCA, 2017, p.16).

The Initial Report for Part 2 was submitted in June 2018 and, the Interim Report in November 2018. The Final Report was published in March 2019.

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Full Report

Executive Summary

What people are saying

The Irish Independent, 8th July 2019

‘Parents at heart of new three Rs in education’. Building stronger relationships between school and home may include national guidance on homework. By Katherine Donnelly, https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/education/parents-at-heart-of-new-three-rs-in-education-38210941.html

The Irish Times, 6th June 2019

Afternoon angst: is homework really necessary? By Sheila Wayman



National Parents Council Primary Education Conference 2019 (8th June 2019)

Parents’ involvement in their children’s education in primary school - The research team: Joan Kiely, Leah O’Toole, Maja Haals Brosnan, Emma Zara O’Brien and Cliona O’Keeffe



Time To Play: Children’s And Parents’ Perspective on Home School Balance, Maja Haals Brosnan

What is this thing called working with parents', involved, engaged or contested? Insights from research, Emma Zara O'Brien

Making homework more family-friendly: The contested role of homework in extending children’s learning in the home, Joan Kiely & Emma Zara O'Brien

The contested role of homework in extending children's learning in the home, Joan Kiely


We need to talk about Homework, Joan Kiely, Leadership+, Issue 111, p.18


Research team (l-r): Emma Zara O'Brien, Dr. Leah O'Toole, Cliona O'Keeffe, Dr. Claire M. Dunne, Dr. Maja Haals Brosnan, Dr. Joan Kiely.

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