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Community engagement

This section draws together research, digital resources, and examples to support schools as they consider the community engagement principle.


Research, resources, and ideas to support schools in understanding and enacting the community engagement curriculum principle.

Featured resource

Using social media to connect with your community
This guide from Enabling e-Learning offers schools starting points for using social media to engage with their communities.

NZC Updates

NZC Update 1 – Family and community engagement
This update focuses on engagement with whānau and Māori communities. The case studies in this Update illustrate a variety of approaches to family, whānau, and community engagement that have proved effective.

PDF icon. NZC Update 1 (PDF, 2 MB)

NZC Update 10 – Engaging with families from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds
This Update focuses on partnerships between schools and diverse families and communities. It builds on Update 1 (September 2010), which focuses on engaging with whānau and Māori communities.

PDF icon. NZC Update 10 (PDF, 1,011 KB)


Ngāue Fakataha ki he ako 'a e Fānau: Report on the Development Phase (Phase One) of a Research and Development Project
This 2016 research and development project examined Pasifika parents' relationships with schools and teachers, regarding their children's learning. The project team developed a Talanoa Ako Cycle – 'Talanoa ako' is 'talking together about education' – to support the process of working together.

Educationally powerful connections with parents and whānau
This 2015 report from the Education Review Office (ERO) evaluates how well 256 schools worked with parents and whānau to respond to students at risk of underachievement. A 2-page PDF summary of this report is also available.

Critical issues for whānau in English-medium schools
This 2012 SET article presents whānau aspirations in English-medium education and identifies elements that advance whānau educational aspirations. The article includes reflective questions to help teachers keep whānau involved in their teaching work.

National Standards – Survey of parents and whānau 2011
This 2012 report focuses on how schools use information from National Standards to communicate with parents, families, and whānau.

Research report – Parents, families and whānau and their information needs
This 2012 report provides in-depth insights about the information and communication needs of parents, families, and whānau.

From community engagement in education to public engagement with education
This 2011 working paper by senior researcher Ally Bull explores the purpose of different school-community initiatives and discusses the case for a wider public engagement in education for the purpose of rethinking how schools meet the needs of all learners in the 21st century.

PISA in focus: What can parents do to help their children succeed at school? (PDF 1.66 MB)
This short research report developed by the OECD in 2011 confirms a number of major findings about effective parent involvement.

Successful Home-School Partnerships
This 2008 report explores the key elements of successful home–school partnerships, and how these partnerships operate in different school settings.

Literature Review on the Effective Engagement of Pasifika Parents & Communities in Education
This 2006 literature review was designed to complement and inform an evaluation of the Ministry's PISCPL project. The review explores barriers to Pacific Island parent/community engagement and strategies that can support home-school engagement.

Selling, telling, compelling: Developing community engagement in curriculum
Cheryl Doig discusses the five levels of community engagement and challenges schools to think about their school environment.

Productive partnerships with whānau, hapū, and iwi

Ruia: School-whānau partnerships
This resource supports school leaders to improve outcomes for Māori students by working in educationally powerful partnerships with whānau.

Pamela King, Kauri Park School: Sabbatical report
In this 2012 report, Pamela King explores the question, “How might medium to high decile schools with a low percentage of Māori and Pasifika students successfully engage family and whānau in their children’s learning to help raise student achievement?”

A closer look at Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success 2013-2017
This blog post is part one of a series that looks closely at different aspects of the Māori education strategy. It examines the principle of productive partnerships in closer detail.

Ka Hikitia in Action
This second issue of the Ministry's magazine, Ka Hikitia in Action, shows what can happen when communities take the lead and turn a government strategy, like the Māori education strategy, Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017, into action.

Productive partnerships with Pasifika parents and communities

Engaging Pasifika parents and communities
This section of the Pasifika Education Community offers resources, tools, and examples to help your school effectively engage with your Pasifika communities.

Pasifika Powerup
Pasifika PowerUP is an education programme that actively supports Pasifika parents and families to champion their children’s learning, and provides academic support for secondary and primary students. This programme is delivered at PowerStations located in community settings.

Sabbatical report – Paul Irving
This sabbatical report by Paul Irving investigates the initiatives and programmes that assist primary schools to be culturally responsive to Pasifika learners and to improve Pasifika achievement.

Reporting to parents and whānau

Sabbatical Report – Maurice Young
This report by Maurice Young looks into how schools can maximize the potential of students reporting progress and achievement in ways that can enhance learning and strengthen the learning partnership between home and school.

Sabbatical report – Donna Donnelly
This report by Donna Donnelly looks at how schools are engaging with their communities to share information about student achievement in relation to the National Standards.

Sabbatical report – John Coulam
John Coulam's sabbatical report looks at how schools are reporting to their communities.

Guidelines for reporting to parents, families, whānau, and communities
These guidelines from Assessment Online offer advice on reporting to parents, families, and whānau in ways that are clear, meaningful, easily understood and that meet your community’s information needs.

Reporting to parents – examples and templates
This section of Assessment Online provides examples for different elements of written reports.

Resources to support conversations with parents, families, whānau and communities
These resources, from the National Standards section of NZC Online, help teachers in their conversations with parents, families, whānau, and communities. 

Resources for parents

Supporting learning at home – Primary school
This Government resource provides information for parents of primary school students about supporting their learning at home. It includes ideas to help with reading, writing, maths, and development of key competencies.

Supporting learning at home – Secondary school
This Government resource provides information for parents of secondary school students about supporting their learning at home. It includes ideas to help with NCEA exams and development of key competencies.

Guides for parents
Education Review Office's evaluation indicators and frameworks, national evaluations, effective practice reports, resources and guides, corporate publications and guides for parents. 

Families and whānau section of NZ Maths
This section of the NZ Maths website provides activities and resources to help families support their child's learning in maths.

The Mutukaroa programme is a process that fosters the active engagement of parents and whānau in learning partnerships and provides them with the tools and knowledge necessary to support the development of core skills in their children.

Reading Together
Reading Together is a research-based workshop programme designed to help parents support their children's reading at home more effectively. The programme was an action research project developed by Jeanne Biddulph.

Tutoring strategies – Pause, Prompt, Praise and Hei Awhiawhi Tamariki ki te Panui Pukapuka 
These two tutoring strategies are designed to help parents work with their children to assist their reading and language development.

Contribution of family, whānau, and community
This part of NZC Online offers ideas for community engagement in careers education.

International resources

The differences between parent involvement and parent engagement
This webpage provides a snapshot from 'Building Parent Engagement in Schools' by Larry Ferlazzo.

The Best Sources Of Parent Engagement Advice For Teachers
This blog by Larry Ferlazzo provides a list of links to his best posts about parent engagement.

Six types of involvement – keys to successful partnerships
This webpage offers six different types of community involvement based on Joyce Epstein's work. It can be used by teachers and school leaders to help them evaluate how well they are connecting with parents.

Partnering with families and communities
This reading by Joyce L. Epstein and Karen Clark Salinas explores how a well-organised programme of family and community partnerships yields many benefits for schools and their students.

Published on: 31 Jul 2015