Evidence for Learning: Engagement in school

Engagement in school

Evidence on engagement in school from the Teaching & Learning Toolkit alongside other supporting resources. 

Engaging students is integral to effective teaching. Ensuring students are attending school and engaging in learning requires school leaders and teachers to know their students, families and communities. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to be disengaged from schooling, and E4L has produced a series of insights to assist schools in identifying students at risk of disengagement. 

Our Toolkit suggests that the approaches that look to engage students generally have a lower impact and are less secure than those approaches which directly link to teaching approaches, however, parental engagement is one promising approach which schools should consider. 

For more information on the evidence on attendance interventions, please refer to this rapid evidence assessment authored by E4L’s UK partners from the Education Endowment Foundation. This report examines the existing research on interventions that aim to improve students’ school attendance and the characteristics of these interventions, based on a systematic search of existing literature.

E4L’s research, insights and resources for schools on school engagement come from a series of projects completed in Victorian public schools.

The 2018‑2019 Insights for Early Action Research Project (the Early Action Project) was commissioned by the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership (part of the Victorian Department of Education and Training). This project, conducted by Evidence for Learning in partnership with the Monash University Faculty of Education, sought to understand and improve how Victorian
schools identify students who are at risk of disengagement, and the processes and enablers for taking early action to keep students engaged with their education.

The Early Action Project systematically reviewed national and international research studies that investigated effective early identification and intervention strategies for
students at risk of disengagement. It supplemented this literature review with qualitative case studies about the current processes and actions taken for early identification and
intervention in 10 Victorian public schools. The systematic global literature review and case study summaries are available in the resources section below.

In 2020, Evidence for Learning undertook a follow-up case study investigation to produce a new Insights Paper. This project involved case studies on five Victorian public schools to investigate how these schools were identifying and taking action for students at risk of disengagement from school during the phases of the COVID‑19 response in 2020.

A summary of resources from these projects is listed below.