"We have 50 years of research showing that what families do matters. Whether it’s loving school, university access, good attendance, or academic success, family engagement has positive correlations with all sorts of indicators"
Dr Mapp - Senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education
Meet the founders
Vanessa has written award-winning workplace programmes in healthcare, women’s empowerment, HIV education as well as technical user guides. She has trained trainers and peer educators in over 70 countries worldwide, focusing on education tools that provide minimum standards of education but are adaptable to meet the needs of different people in different countries from Board level executives to local communities. She has seen first hand the powerful impact information has to change lives for the better.
Vanessa has been a consultant with the Society of Heads since 2014 and spent three years as business planning manager to the Headmaster of a senior school.
Darius has worked across a range of different schools from academies, independent schools (day and boarding) to pupil referral units. As well as teaching, he has experience working as a Faculty leader, Community Outreach Advisor, Careers Advisor and Deputy Housemaster. He enjoys working closely with career and sixth-form departments supporting parents with their children’s post-16 and post-18 options. He holds a masters degree in Educational Leadership.
In his spare time, Darius enjoys travelling and visiting new places. He is also a trustee for Gap Africa and an advisor to a charity dedicated to improving parent-child relations.
"Parental engagement is a powerful lever for raising achievement in schools"
Harris & Goodall, University of Warwick
We first met working in a school. Darius taught sixth formers and parents would catch him after school, asking him what they could do to help their children with their university applications – whether it was a personal statement, deciding on the right course or even whether applying to university was the right thing for their child.
We looked online to find what resources were available specifically for parents and were surprised that, given how much information there was for children, there was very little guidance for parents. Yes, there was useful information available, but it was very factual and didn’t demonstrate how parents could help. In some cases, it was quite complicated. There seemed to be a gap between what was out there and what was needed, and it felt like a gap we could fill. We set about writing our first guide: The Parents’ Guide to University. We were delighted by the response from parents and, unexpectedly, from schools who could also see how the guide helped them respond to parents’ needs. There were requests for other guides, and this marked the start of The Parents’ Guide to …
Since the idea of the first guide in 2016, The Parents Guide to has continued to evolve and now has 15 guides, focusing on ages 14 to 19 and we work with over 140,000 parents across 1100 schools or colleges. We also provide guidance on wellbeing for teens, including protecting mental and physical health, online safety, sexual appropriateness, and many of the issues that parents worry about but may not be sure how to address.
Learn more about us and our journey in our first live interview with charity Family Based Solutions
"The effect of parental engagement over a student's school career is equivalent to adding two or three years to that student's education"
John Hattie, research paper
Providing parents with the information they need to help their teenage children create happier and more successful futures ...
... so that every child has support both at home and at school and every parent knows how to guide their children in making the right choices for them.
Parents play an important role in influencing their children’s happiness and future
All children should have fair chances and their prospects are improved if they have support at home as well as school
Reliable and accessible information can make the difference
Wherever we refer to ‘parents’ we mean ‘parents and carers.’ This includes grandparents, older siblings or any other person with significant caring responsibilities for children.
"Parental engagement has a large and positive effect on children’s learning"
Department for Education, Gov UK
What we do
We provide unbiased and helpful information for parents of teenage children. The decisions teenagers make at sixteen and eighteen have a significant impact on their futures. Our step-by-step guides are written for parents to help them understand all their children’s options so they can give the right advice at the right time. Choose to see overviews of what’s on offer after GCSE or sixth form or delve deeper into specialist guides, such as apprenticeships, university, revision and results day. We update each guide every year so you can be confident they provide current information – all in one place.
Our free support and advice pages include extracts from our guides and answers to parents’ commonly asked questions. Sign up for either our parent or school newsletters to receive regular updates in your inbox.
We inform, involve and guide parental support leading to greater success for their children.
Explore our comprehensive range of resources and guides designed to provide unbiased and helpful information
Discover how we can help you increase parental engagement leading to better outcomes for schools and their families
Subscribe to our parent or school newsletter for free advice , support and resources on how parents can help their teenage children
Partnerships and collaborations
We believe much more can be achieved when we work together. We are proud to team up with other like-minded organisations who support children (and, in turn, their parents) in finding and making the most of educational opportunities to enable them to create happy and successful futures. We believe all children should have fair chances, which is why we offer many free resources here at The Parents' Guide to and seek partners who are keen to make a difference for disadvantaged communities and individuals.