On March 10, school leaders, teachers and parents from eight Queensland independent schools gathered together to listen, co-generate and learn with us during our first in-person event for EPIC 2023.

Engaging Parents in Curriculum (EPIC) – an established collaboration between Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network (QIS Parents Network), Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) and Griffith University – is innovative research which sees parent engagement experts Dr Linda Willis and Professor Beryl Exley working alongside independent school teachers and leaders as they hone their parent engagement practices and processes.

EPIC has scaled up from three participating schools in 2022 to eight schools in 2023. This year’s schools include two distance education providers, a large all-girls boarding school, a small community school in Brisbane south, Steiner schools in north Queensland and Brisbane and co-educational day schools.

Teams from each school will work together throughout the year – supported by the EPIC project – to bring their parent engagement goals to life.

Parents have a ‘deep well of knowledge’

Griffith University’s Dr Linda Willis [below left], who led the March professional learning alongside Professor Beryl Exley, reminded the group: “Engaging parents involves teachers and school leaders letting parents know why they matter and about the power of everyday conversations to improve their child’s school and life success, then scaffolding parents to support their child’s learning and wellbeing in ways that are natural, authentic, and fun.”

EPIC’s findings from the last two years of research have been documented in two research reports and distilled into a suite of professional development videos, as well as a series of snapshot documents which are supporting all independent schools to effectively engage parents and carers.

Dr Willis says the project’s findings offer schools and families new ways of thinking and new practices and advance decades of research cementing the ‘why’ of engaging parents in their child’s learning – and converting it to the ‘how’.

“Teachers have always known that parents have a deep well of knowledge and our EPIC findings not only show this but also illustrate how educators from early, middle and senior years can tap into that knowledge,’’ Dr Willis said.

“This research gives teachers something we know they are seeking – ’how to’ guidance for effectively engaging parents in their child’s learning and wellbeing.

“We know unequivocally after two years of embedding ourselves in Queensland independent schools for this research – and in State and Catholic schools since 2008 – that engaging parents not only works, it can be reasonably easy and also enriching for teachers’ practice and wellbeing.

“When engaging parents happens well it means teachers and parents are working as partners for their child’s education.”

Parent engagement is an increasing focus of governments and policy makers and features in many schools’ strategic plans.

Find out more & share the resources!

Watch this short video about EPIC’s impact.

Read stories about the participating EPIC schools

Read the EPIC 2022 Final Report

Read the EPIC 2022 Media Release