Narrowing the Achievement Gap proposes a radical change to our conception of learning, education and schooling, arguing that parental engagement is the best lever we have for school improvement and closing the achievement gap. Unique in its focus on original research linking underachievement and parental engagement, this book uses a range of international case studies to demonstrate that achievement isn’t only reliant on what happens in school and that what happens out of school is equally important.

Each chapter explores how schools can actively engage with parents and communities to reinstate education in the home, and to generate support to combat issues out of their control, including poverty, deprivation, and a lack of social capital. Although schools have an integral part to play in this process, it argues that parents and society must reconsider their own educational responsibility, regardless of background, and offers a solid research base and practical suggestions to help do so.

Consisting of an in-depth and contemporary study of this significant issue in educational achievement and written by an expert in the field, this text will appeal to researchers, academics and postgraduate students in the fields of education, schooling, sociology of education, school effectiveness and improvement, school policy and school leadership.

chapter 1|6 pages


chapter 3|18 pages

Premise 1

The achievement gap is significant

chapter 4|23 pages

Premise 2

The achievement gap is systemic and malleable

chapter 5|17 pages

Parental engagement for all parents

chapter 6|28 pages

Premise 3

Parental engagement with children’s learning offers the best lever to narrow the achievement gap

chapter 8|14 pages

Recommendations and conclusion