Moray House School of Education and Sport

Understanding the links between home and primary school

During the 2018-19 academic year, the Moray House RWC Group gathered data to better understand how pupils in upper primary classes feel about the links between home and school.

Background: parental engagement during transitions

Much of the literature on parental engagement focuses on early years and supporting transitions into primary school. We know that parental engagement is associated with learners’ success at school, and we also know that it is easier with parents of young children.

With the Read Write, Count (RWC) initiative’s focus on parental engagement for families with children in P2 and P3, the Scottish Book Trust are now exploring ways to continue this support as children move into upper primary.

Research informing the Read Write, Count programme development

The Moray House RWC Group conducted research to inform the Read Write, Count programme development and the nature of the offer for upper primary-aged children. The Scottish Book Trust is currently piloting a project to aid the transition from P7 to High School by supporting young people and parents through that journey. 


A questionnaire was designed and distributed through volunteer students on initial teacher education programmes who were on placement in upper primary classes. A total of 904 responses were returned from schools in five different local authority areas.

Questionnaire findings

Overall findings focused on the change in what pupils want from home-school relationships, which has previously been observed in pupils in secondary school but is already evident in P6 and P7 pupils. While there is no increase in embarrassment associated with parents being involved in school activities, there is a preference for “indirect” engagement, rather than direct support.

The pupils at all stages reported wanting more help from their parents with their writing than with reading.

Further research: systematised scoping reviews

In addition to this questionnaire, two Master’s students carried out research on topics identified as of interest by the collaborative RWC Group. Both research projects were systematised scoping reviews:

  • “Parents supporting children with EAL reading in the home setting” by Dongling Li
  • “Effectiveness of Digital Tools to Support Pupils’ Reading in Secondary School – A Systematised Review” by Danlei Chen

Knowledge exchange

The findings from both studies were shared with the City of Edinburgh local authority. Research from the second study by Danlei Chen has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning.

Members of the collaborative RWC Group also shared findings when presenting on “Collaborating for Impact” at the Third Sector Research Forum, Edinburgh, in October 2019. 

The presentation focused on the successful collaboration between Moray House staff and students, City of Edinburgh and the Scottish Book Trust, including:

  • Students’ research highlighted the lack of teacher confidence in teaching of writing, which was addressed through CPD;
  • Working with SBT and Family Learning on RWC allowed CEC to provide better training for schools
  • Research on Family Learning support was shared with the Quality Improvement Officer writing the strategy paper on parental engagement;
  • A survey on pupils’ views on parental involvement in schools.

Other collaborative projects

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