22/02/2012 04:44 GMT | Updated 22/02/2012 07:47 GMT

Nearly Nine In 10 Teachers Don't Know How To Deal With Pupils' Parents

Nine out of 10 teachers feel there are families in their schools who experience parenting problems, new research claims.

The concerns have prompted a national family charity to launch online guidance for teachers detailing how to support pupils' parents.

Family Lives, working in conjunction with Teacher Support Network, developed ‘Guidance for Head Teachers and School Staff' in order to advise teaching staff how to work with parents and where to go for additional support.

The survey, conducted by the two charities, also found:

  • 29% of teachers said they did not get the support they needed from their school to work well with pupil’s parents
  • One third of teachers would not know where to go to get help for a pupil’s parents if they felt they needed family and parenting support
  • 90% of teachers felt that there were families in their school experiencing common parenting problems

Pauline Hannibal, Headteacher for Merry Hill Infant and Nursery School said she would "highly recommend" the resource.

"As headteachers and teachers we recognise the significant positive impact that good parenting has on learners’ behaviour and achievement, but we are sometimes unsure how we can support parents in this.

"The online resource from Family Lives and Teacher Support Network is full of valuable tips and information on how schools can engage with parents and support them in helping their children to develop good habits of behaviour and respect."

Julian Stanley, group chief executive of Teacher Support Network said relationships between school staff and parents are "generally very good".

"But we also know from the significant number of calls and emails we receive to our support lines and online services that when these relationships turn bad, it can not only have a negative impact on pupils, young people and often the wider school community, but also have a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of teachers.

"This new guidance from Family Lives, developed with the help of serving headteachers and teachers, is the first step in helping to ensure that school staff are fully supported in their dealings with parents.”

The education resource was aimed to coincide with another publication from Family Lives that found:

  • More than half of parents surveyed would access support if available at their child’s school and 23% had already accessed support
  • Nearly two thirds felt the stigma of being seen as not being able to cope was a barrier to accessing services
  • 90% of respondents stated that they believed parents would benefit from advice and information on effective ways of coping with their child’s behaviour, and other common parenting problems
  • 79% of respondents felt that currently there is too little reliable information on parenting

Jeremy Todd, chief executive of Family Lives said teachers "already know" the benefits of pupils having support and discipline at home.

"We believe in order for a child’s attainment and behaviour in school to improve, their parents must be actively engaged in their education. The recommendations in our latest guidance point schools in the right direction when engaging with parents about their child’s education."