A common issue most school’s experience on a regularly basis is getting parents to engage fully with their child’s education. There can be many barriers for parents, and in this blog post we explore some of these barriers, and how your school can overcome them.
1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
No matter what barriers are in place, the first step to take is to ensure you communicate to parents on a regular basis. Keeping parents up to date with information on their individual child’s education, the class’s progression overall, upcoming events, school trips and school improvements all keep parents informed and up to date.
2. Encourage Two-Way Communication
Now you have opened up the communication stream, how can you get the parents involved and responding? The most common teacher-parent interaction is parent’s evening and a report. Encourage parents to respond, ask questions and become generally more engaged at Parent’s Evening by ensuring there is enough time to do so during their appointment. And on the school report, consider offering parents the option of a casual meeting for a more detailed discussion. For children progressing well, parents may not realise they can discuss how to help ensure the child keeps doing well. If parents are required to sign and return a slip confirming receipt of the report, this can be a perfect place to encourage parents to open a dialogue about their child’s progress.
3. Invite Parents to the School Regularly
Parents may have had a bad experience in their own education and may find the idea of going back to school a bit daunting, especially for younger parents. Invite parents along to a fun day packed with family activities and show the staff are open and friendly, making you more approachable, and putting parents at ease.
4. Host a Parents Evening
This is a fairly obvious one, however how many parents struggle to attend during school hours? Many parents may work long hours and struggle to make these important events, so consider ways to be more inclusive to all backgrounds. Think about offering a phone call for these parents, or even better, a free of charge Skype call. Engaging with parents in this most basic way can encourage additional engagement and an effective website, app or social media can help keep them engaged.
5. Provide Communication in an Approachable Way
Now you have set up lots of events, and you have identified lots of great messages you’d like to communicate to parents, so now make sure you communicate it to them in a way that is most suitable for them.
Do you send home a letter or newsletter via the child, or do you find these often get lost? Is there a way you can follow up the communication to ensure it has been received? If this is proving too expensive or ineffective, think about appropriate online channels you can utilise. If your school has a website, ensure all messages are added and updated on a regular basis.
Social media such as Twitter or Facebook can be a fast and inexpensive method for distributing your messages, however do consider issues of security as these are available to the general public. Another solution is a school app, which is password protected for security, easy to keep up to date and cheaper than you think. We’d be delighted to talk you through this solution if it is the right one for you.