Talking Futures: Delivering effective parental engagement

Follow these pointers to help you choose the right activities for your parent community, spread the word about events and engage hard to reach parents.

Choosing your activity

Before you organise an activity, think about the parent group you’re trying to engage. For example:

  • Do parents have a bias towards or against particular options? An information-led activity, such as the Employer Panel, may help to expand their view.
  • Are you working with parents whose children have additional needs? If so, a family learning activity, such as the Teamwork Challenge that focuses on building skills together, might be most suitable.

Virtual vs face-to-face

All of our activities come with guidance on how to deliver them remotely or face-to-face. Here are some points to consider.

  • Virtual meetings might help more parents attend. Sessions can be recorded so parents can view them later.
  • Remember that not all parents are comfortable with virtual platforms. If possible, use a simple platform that parents already know through other school/college activities.

Communicating with parents

You will need to communicate with parents several times about your activities to ensure maximum awareness.

  • Start with a save-the-date communication emailed or given to students well in advance.
  • Follow up with more about the event and practical details such as the date, time and registration details.
  • Send a reminder email a day before the event. If it’s virtual, tell parents how to link to it and anything they need to know about using the platform.

Engaging hard-to-reach parents

Some parents may avoid social interactions, or feel daunted by anything to do with school or college. They may prefer not to speak on the phone and struggle to absorb large amounts of information. Here are some ideas to help them engage:

  • Send emails or messages home via students. Explain how much of a difference they can make and empathise with the issues they may be facing.
  • If the parents have relationships with the SEND or pastoral teams, communicate through them.
  • Consider inviting the whole family to make them more comfortable.


Find more delivery guidance detail and helpful tips in the Talking Futures toolkit.


  • Careers Leader
  • Further Education provider
  • Training Provider
  • Talking Futures
  • Free
  • Parent engagement