How many of your pupils’ parents do you see on a regular basis? Beyond parents’ evening, when do you have the opportunity to genuinely engage with each child’s family? How about their extended family?
Communications with parents and bridging the gap between school and home is a proven and effective way to improve outcomes. Pupils whose parents are actively involved in their education do better than those whose home and school lives are unrelated.
While improved outcomes are important, few teachers come into the profession to talk about exam results. Beyond academic success, what are the day-to-day benefits of reaching out to parents?
Communication with parents = improved attendance
If parents know more about the school day, upcoming events and any school closures, then they can do a better job of making sure their children are in school when they should be. Sending a quick notification about the first day of term can make a noticeable improvement to the pupils who arrive at school on the right day at the right time.
A recent study even showed that notifying parents about unrelated matters would improve attendance. This surprised the researchers but makes sense when you consider that more communication with parents leads to improved engagement with the school.
“The positive effects of the programme in relation to a reduction in absenteeism was surprising given that no texts related to attendance were sent, and is perhaps related to the increased monitoring by parents of children’s school-related activities overall, creating an environment in which pupils felt less able or willing to truant.”
Whole family buy-in
In many families, one parent or guardian takes the lead role in communication with the school. This is, perhaps, a hangover of an age where communication between home and school could only happen at the school gates.
In the 21st century, however, there’s no need to depend on just one family member. A school app can ensure that the entire family is in-the-know, receiving the same notification at the same time.
This is perfect for the modern age where families come in all shapes and sizes, with a more diverse set of communication needs than ever before. Does Sammy live with his grandparents on Tuesdays and Wednesdays? No problem – with a school app, communication with parents and other family members is easy – the right information gets to the people who need it at the right time.
Broadcasting your message when it’s needed
Has bad weather forced the school to close? Gone are the days where you need to depend on local radio to broadcast your message to parents. Nor do you need to depend on parents checking your website.
A school app can send a message to the entire school community and arrive on devices that you know parents will have with them – their smartphones and tablets. Your message is sent and received practically instantaneously, giving families more time to make the arrangements necessary to care for their children.
Of course, you can achieve this with a text message notification but using an app removes the cost associated with sending multiple messages providing updates. Did you think you had to close for two days but can now open a day earlier? It costs nothing to send an update. You can even link to additional details such as revised timetables.
Sharing good news
All too often, communication with parents is about sharing bad news. Notes about behaviour and concerns about attainment are important but hardly the sort of information that parents want to receive.
Balance the vital but unpleasant conversations with regular good news stories and parents will see your school for what it is – a place where their child can thrive on high expectations in a strong community. Doesn’t that sound more like the reason you came into teaching?