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Parent workshops - how can we reach out to everyone?

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I have always believed that the best resource for our children’s learning is parental support. Enforcing what the children have been learning at school at home is an incredible asset that we just can’t get in school time alone. I have performed a number of parent workshops where I show the parents what is being taught in school, from phonics to year six SATs maths. I have further led SPAG classes for the parents who were unaware of the usage and definition of homophones to ensure that learning can continue at home.

These classes have always been a tremendous help to their children and naturally improves their understanding dramatically; however the problem persists in struggling to reach every parent. And it was this thought this got me researching - how can we get those hard to reach parents?

I stumbled across an idea that one school was using in their highly deprived area, which seemed to be working very well.

This deprived school was simply offering raffle tickets for every workshop they attended. At the end of the half term, they will then be entered into a raffle for a variety of prizes, such as hampers, wines and vouchers, there was no cost to the school as the prizes were donated. This proved to be a wildly popular way to encourage parents to come and participate in workshops. As an extension, the school then offer further tickets for more involved sessions, such as coffee mornings or parent meetings.

However, this does not address working parents or those with no childcare available, who would physically be unable to attend. What can we do here?

Whilst after-school workshops with a set area for the children are a simple and straightforward arrangement, schools can also tap into the ready prevalence of technology in the home.

For example, a webinar could be the perfect way to address parents, as well as allow for direct interaction. These can be accessed on their devices at home and with enough prior warning on timings, can even be streamed from home.

These have been a great hit for most working parents or those that have issues with childcare and even more so for the teachers. They can do it at a convenient time for all parties, from the comfort of their home and parents can type questions that they want to ask. Ultimately, it’s not just about expecting parents to be present, but also addressing the unique situations and arrangements of our pupils’ families.

What do you think? How do/would you implement practices to encourage parents to interact? Please let us know in the comments below or in our Facebook groups.


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