14 April 2024

Value the family’s knowledge of effective ways to support their child’s learning and well-being

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Partnering with parents and whānau to support students’ learning and wellbeing’

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Build on strategies from home

Build on strategies from home

A family shares its strategies for communicating and interacting with their Deaf son.

Value parent knowledge of their child

Value parent knowledge of their child

“Give her only a pencil or ask her to stand in front of others and talk and you will never see what she is capable of.”


Utilise parent's expertise

Utilise parent's expertise

Engagement works well when schools tap into parents’ skills, talents, and expertise. It is important that teachers trust them as parents for the knowledge they have about their child. Having teachers who believe in their child’s potential is critical to successful and sustainable learning partnerships.

Source: Partners in learning: Parents’ voices (ERO, 2008) (opens in a new tab/window)

What to ask whānau

What to ask whānau

Connect with the family to understand the student’s strengths and needs.

Find out about:

people in the student’s life:

  • parent, family, and whānau hopes and priorities for them
  • the important people in the student’s life
  • the best methods and times to communicate with parents and whānau
  • the professionals working with the family and whānau 
  • the questions they have and the support they would like from the school.

practical elements:

  • the language/s spoken at home
  • students’ medications and allergies
  • the equipment used at home
  • what they do at home to support learning.

student’s likes and dislikes:

  • their likes, interests, what they’re good at, need help with, and can do independently
  • their dislikes, what can upset them, how they express this, and their calming skills
  • their favourite hobbies, books, songs, sports, TV programmes.

Bring this information together in a profile that is shared with the student, parents, and whānau. 

Identify student strengths

Identify student strengths

A parent of a child with dyslexia tells the school about her son’s interests and achievements outside school.

My son is not great at decoding. Actually he is terrible, but he loves to read using his kindle. He loves to learn and finds ways to learn all the time with his iPad.

Recently he got his first paying job – teaching some adults how to use a website and Facebook and he got paid $25 an hour. They said he was able to explain how to learn in a non-threatening and understandable way. Could this be because he has had to struggle and knows what helped him to learn

Useful resources

Useful resources


Partners in learning: Good practice (September 2008) – Successful engagement: good practice

This evaluation report from ERO identifies key factors that contribute to the success of engagement with parents, whānau, and the wider community.

Publisher: Education Review Office | Te Tari Arotake Matauranga

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Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Partner with whānau ”:

Return to the guide “​Partnering with parents, whānau, and communities ”