Moray House School of Education and Sport

Engaging pre-service teachers to advance parental engagement and develop their practice

During the 2016-2017 academic year, the Read, Write Count (RWC) projects aimed to 1) support parental engagement under the Family Learning umbrella (currently supported by Community Learning and Development Family Learning) and 2) enable trainee teachers to develop their skills/practice around parental engagement with children’s learning.


Pre-service teachers were involved in two related activities. The first group, of eight students, worked alongside Family Learning workers with families of pupils in schools. The second group conducted research on the effectiveness of the Moray House RWC initiative as their final year project for the BEd (Primary Education) programme.


Findings from research conducted by BEd (Primary Education) students Robyn Ivory, Kerriann Kerr, Anni MacKay, Anna Stembridge, Hollie Strang included:

  • The potential of RWC is currently under-exploited. Schools in affluent areas tend not to use it. Not all teachers know about the depth of resources on offer from the Scottish Book Trust.
  • There is a perceived need for additional support to make the RWC resources and related activities accessible to bilingual or multilingual families.
  • Student teachers often lack confidence in parental engagement and feel under-prepared for this aspect of their practice.
  • There are different understandings of parental engagement amongst teachers. While some asset-based approaches were identified, deficit-based approaches persist in some places.

Knowledge exchange

Findings from the research projects were disseminated at a half-day seminar for practitioners and policymakers.

Feedback about the initial Read, Write, Count resources included:

An activity event would have been useful for parents and children, as ways the resources could be used...

- Teacher

Subsequently, such activity events have been held to promote engagement with a variety of parent groups, including a Dad's group.

All students on initial teacher education programmes at Moray House School of Education and Sport were invited to participate in an evening session on use of RWC materials to support parental engagement co-delivered by the School in partnership with City of Edinburgh staff. Feedback was very positive and some student teachers immediately began implementing the ideas during their school placements.

A lecture on family learning approaches looking at both theory and practice was devised and offered to initial teacher education students.

Other collaborative projects

Learn more about other collaborative projects led by the Moray House RWC Group:

Related study programmes

MA (Hons) Primary Education with Gaelic

MA (Hons) Physical Education

PGDE Primary

PGDE Secondary

MSc Transformative Learning and Teaching

MSc Dance Science and Education with TQs