In my previous blog I looked at ways to support those hard to reach parents through incentives and exploring more practical methods of sharing information through the use of technology.
This week however we will look at ways of supporting parents, whilst ensuring that teachers are not spending all their efforts and time on this. We all have those parents that have important issues that they need to ask us and typically, the only opportunity that they get is at inopportune times. For example, at the school gate, when you need to get to your class, or after school, when you have books to mark and AFL to complete. So, as leaders, how can we support our parents but save time too?
One obvious suggestion that has resonated with the majority of families I have interacted with is emails. When I was a senior leader I created emails for each key stage leader e.g. [email protected]. These emails were then posted on websites, newsletters and text so that the parents had a way to contact their teacher at times that were convenient for them, without taking time out of the school day.
The parents naturally found it so useful to be able to directly voice their needs immediately and know that the issue would be resolved as soon as possible. The key stage leader would then forward the emails to the relevant parties or speak to whomever they needed to during a time that was convenient to them. This took a lot of pressure off and made the parents feel like they were important and not just being brushed off due to time constraints.
The other mechanism that I have seen work well and I implemented in my school was a weekly key stage newsletter. This newsletter had all the information that the parents would want to know, such as topics being taught, upcoming key dates, and sometimes more in-depth classroom information, such as what pupils have been looking at in maths lessons.
In the newsletter I used to produce, we would also publish pupils’ spelling scores so that the parents knew what their child's results were and could encourage home support if there were notable problem areas. This newsletter helped the parents feel like they were part of their child’s education, better understand the structure of specific classes, and also be confident that they could talk to their children about their learning at school.
What do you think? Are there any parental engagement tools that you are using that you would like to share? Pop me a note below or come and comment in the groups.
Popular topics this week (Thanks to our group members!)
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As ever, please leave any thoughts in the comments below and have a great week!
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