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A new study by Exeter University professor Charles Desforges has revealed that parental involvement in a child’s education is by far the best predictor of future academic success, regardless of the social class, income or educational level of the parents.

Desforges describes the involvement of parents in the education of their children as the single biggest factor affecting the success of the students. The impact is felt especially at a young age. A secure home environment, including the involvement of both parents, coupled with opportunity for intellectual stimulation was found to contribute greatly to a child’s potential.

Juliette Collier, from Britain's Campaign for Learning, highlighted Desforges’ findings at a European conference on fatherhood. “The study identified that at the age of seven, what parents do at home with their kids is six times more important than the role schools play,” she said, as reported by the Sunday Times. “It diminishes slightly as the child gets older, but is still significant.”

“When all other factors bearing on pupil attainment are taken out of the equation, parental involvement has a large and positive effect on the outcomes of schooling,” Desforges said. “This effect is bigger than that of schooling itself.”

“Let's say we could make all schools equally good,” he continued. “Would all seven-year-olds be equally good? The answer is no. You would only reduce differences in attainment between them by 5 per cent. But if you could make all parents equally good at parenting, it would make a difference. It would reduce differences between children by 30 per cent.”

A related BBC report added that 16 year-olds whose parents had the highest level of involvement scored as much as 24 percent higher, compared with parents who had little involvement with their children’s education.
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