Parent and Carers Support

Welcome to our Parent and Carer Attainment Raising Guide

  • Parent and Carers Attainment Raising Guide

    You will find this guide packed full of information and activities to support your child or dependant in raising their attainment via developing metacognitive skills. But what is Attainment Raising, and why is it important? Attainment raising means something that has been achieved or completed. In education, if often means improving your academic grades in school. Raising your child or dependent's attainment will help them progress and reach their full potential in education and life. In this guide you'll find attainment raising information and activities that can help learners achieve higher and opportunities for you to do those activities with them.

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Some terms used in this guide may be unfamiliar to you. Find out what they mean here.

Key term  Brief definition
Attainment Something which has been achieved such as a grade, exam or target.
Metacognition The process of thinking about your own thinking and learning. Such as being able to evaluate.
Debate  A formal discussion where arguments are put forward. For example school councils debating the pros/cons of an idea for their school.
Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) Partnership of 13 Higher Education Providers in West Yorkshire working to support entry to Higher Education and success once there.
Learners A person in formal education or training.
Oracy The ability to express yourself fluently with speech, for example when presenting.
Public Speaking  The act of delivering speeches or presenting to a large number of people.
Progression The process of moving towards a more advanced state. For example, moving into the next academic year or on to a higher level of study.

The Benefits of Metacognition

Teaching learners metacognitive skills can help your child or dependant gain up to 7 months additional progress in their education.

Demonstrating your own thought processes and applying this to challenging tasks or linking it to the national curriculum are a good way to teach these skills

*Source, Education Endowment Fund, 2022

Did you know…?

that learners with good oracy skills are four times more likely to get five A*-Cs at GCSE. 

Source, Better Communication Research Programme, 2012

97% of teachers, 94% of employers and 88% of young people believe that life skills such as confidence, motivation, resilience, and oracy are as or more important than academic qualifications.

Source, Life Lessons, Sutton Trust 2017

What is Think and Go Higher?

The Think and Go Higher programme focuses on how to develop learning skills through metacognition. Metacognition is often described as learning to learn, so your child or dependent will learn skills and knowledge to support them through their education.

By supporting your child or dependant to develop these skills, they will be able to organise their knowledge, express ideas confidently using a range of techniques, think creatively, work with others and develop questioning and listening skills. This can help raise their attainment, which means they can go higher in education and achieve more.

Don’t just take our word for it!

‘The quality of feedback that the students were giving one another was always really considerate so they’re aware that it’s a bit nerve wracking speaking in front of so many people so they’re more sensitive with what they say… it’s helped build those skills of empathy.’

Source, The final interview with a teacher, Voice 21 Pilot Report 2018

“Oracy should be taught more in schools…At the end of the day communication skills help you get on in life. Exam results are important but you need good communication in everyday life because you’re always communicating with others.”

Source, Pupil- from Executive Summary- Oracy APPG Final Report, pg8 2021

What's next?

There are several activities included in the next sections which you can use to support your child or dependant to develop their learning skills.

When you ask your child or dependant what they have done at school today do you get a response something like ‘good’? Well, that’s kind of normal.

Activities like these are a great way of finding out more about what your child or dependant has done at school, what they know about and encouraging them to get talking! All of this will help develop their communication skills and attainment raising.

(If you are short of time, you can complete some of them in about 10-15 minutes. Equally, you can spend longer on them if you so wish.)

Quick tips for improving learning skills

  • Think about how you think; organise your knowledge to think deeper.
  • How can you connect? Link your existing knowledge on different subjects.
  • Have a Debate- hold discussions to build on their knowledge and your ideas surrounding it.
  • Analyse your child/dependant’s work- Ask them questions, check facts and delve deeper into the impact of something they’ve discovered.
  • Be collaborative- discuss how you can support others, work with a team and share skills, ability and knowledge.

Activity 1 - Thunks

Thunks are questions which make you think. There is no right or wrong answer and they create discussion. Here are some examples of Thunks you can talk about with your child or dependant.

  • ‘If elephants ruled the world, what changes would be made?’
  • ‘Is black a colour?’
  • ‘Can I be accused of cheating if I don’t know the rules?
  • ‘How many bricks is a wall?’

Adapted from

Activity 2 - If I ruled the world

Work with your child or dependant and ask them to finish the sentence ‘If I ruled the world….’

Once they have completed saying that sentence, ask them ‘why?’ Listen to their answer.

Now swap. You can repeat as many times as you like!

Some possible answers are…

  • …I would give everyone Fridays off!
  • … I would get rid of homework!
  • … I could go to bed whenever I wanted!
  • …everyone would be treated the same!

*adapted from

Aim – to extend discussions and back up opinions

Activity 3 - Debate: Always, sometimes, never

Using one of the topics below (or come up with your own), get your child or dependant to spend 5-10 minutes thinking and writing notes about the topic, and linking it to the ideas of always, sometimes or never.

Ask them to tell you their opinion on the topic.

You can then respond with your opinion. Will it be the same?


  • Giving is better than receiving
  • Exams should be scrapped
  • Chips are the best food

Here’s an example to get you going:

‘Sometimes giving is better than receiving however it depends on the gift.’

Aim – to have a debate about a topic

Can you change someone’s opinion?

More Information

Thank you for reading this guide!

We hope you found the information in it useful.

Remember, you can speak with your child or dependant’s teacher/s about attainment raising.

And if you want to explore more about how to support your child or dependant’s attainment and educational progression yourself, you can refer to the resources below.