Education Secretary Justine Greening is to abandon plans to drop the requirement for parent governors from schools in England.
Ms Greening told MPs she did not intend to proceed with controversial proposals by her predecessor Nicky Morgan to give academy trusts the "freedom" not to include parent governors.
Appearing before the Commons Education Committee, she said the involvement of parents was often crucial to turning round under-performing schools.
"I don't think we should be saying that Mats (multi-academy trusts) don't need to have parents. I think parent governors play a vital role actually," she said.
"I actually think that part of the way that we can ensure schools that are doing a less good job of delivering for children who are disadvantaged - part of the solution is getting parents more involved.
"We have all seen it as a local MP, often when schools turn around, one of the reasons they have managed to do it is because parents have become more engaged and more invested in the school's success and that has helped build the school up."
Her comments were welcomed by Liberal Democrat education spokesman John Pugh who said: "This will undoubtedly be the first of many climbdowns from a secretary of state left to defend the indefensible.
"It should have never reached this stage but I am glad, finally, that the Government have seen sense."
Ms Greening told the committee that while she supported Ms Morgan's aim for all state schools in England to become academies, her priority was raising standards in schools that were under-performing.
"I do want to see all schools over time become academies but I think our focus has got to be on the schools that are struggling and not doing well enough for children at the moment," she said.