Children live and learn in two different worlds, home and school. However these worlds are often kept separate from each other. In the Home School Knowledge Exchange (HSKE) project we wanted to help teachers, parents and children share their different knowledge of these worlds. We hypothesised that doing this successfully would enhance children’s learning.
The project had three main strands, concerned respectively with:
• Literacy at Key Stage 1
• Numeracy at Key Stage 2
• Transfer from primary to secondary school
Within each strand the project took place in four action primary schools (plus four action secondary schools in the transfer strand) in the cities of Bristol and Cardiff. The schools reflected the social and cultural diversity to be found in these two cities. In these schools we developed, implemented and evaluated HSKE activities which supported the exchange of knowledge between home and school. Some of these activities focused on the exchange of knowledge from school-to-home, and aimed to make parents more knowledgeable about what was happening in their children’s schools. Other activities focused on the exchange of knowledge from home-to-school, and aimed to help teachers understand more about their children’s out-of-school lives. Children attending similar schools but which did not engage in HSKE activities acted as a comparison group.
The HSKE activities were well received by teachers, parents and children. On the whole they served their purpose of transferring knowledge and information between home and school. In addition, the activities had a positive impact on children’s attainment. This was particularly noticeable in the transfer strand, where children who had attended HSKE schools made significantly better progress in reading than children who had not. Children from HSKE schools were also more positive about their learning and adjusted more quickly to life in secondary school.