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Deprived parents struggle to support school work

Poorer families are less likely to become involved in their children's learning when they start school and more likely to have difficulties in supporting them with homework.

Researchers have called for more efforts to be made to encourage parental involvement after finding lone parents, younger mothers, parents with lower educational qualifications, and parents from more deprived socio- economic circumstances had lower levels of participation in school life as their children turned six.

The researchers also found that the parents who struggled with their children's homework tended to be from more disadvantaged groups, whether defined by area deprivation, household income or parental education.

The findings are the latest results from the Growing Up in Scotland study, which follows the experiences of 14,000 children and their families. They appear to confirm the link between parental involvement and educational achievement.

The most common school activity parents had taken part in was visiting their child's classroom (86 per cent), followed by attending a school event in which their child had participated (81 per cent). Far fewer parents had taken part in more formal activities such as attending a parent council (24 per cent). Five per cent had not participated in any activities or events at the child's school since they started P1.

Most children (71 per cent) aged seven to eight received homework every day or most days. Virtually all (93 per cent) said they always completed it, but children from families living in more deprived areas were less likely to do so.

Other findings

- 97 per cent of parents were `very' or `fairly' satisfied with their child's school.

- Almost all parents would like their child to go to college or university.

- Unauthorised absence, including truancy, in P1 of five or more days was twice as common among children living in the most deprived areas.

- Half of P1 and P2 pupils walk to and from school; almost all the rest travel by car.

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