As we enter the final term, many teachers will already be thinking ahead to next academic year. As the pressure of SATs and GCSEs subsides, the summer term is a perfect time to reflect on the year and plan ahead for September. But it’s also a great opportunity to get parents engaged with your school, which will pay huge dividends in the autumn term.
Try our three top tips to involve parents in your school community.
1. Make the most of what you’ve got
There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Many events during the summer term lend themselves to parental involvement. School calendars across the country will be packed with sports days, awards assemblies and summer shows.
But how much can you involve parents in these events? If you get low attendance, it might be worth considering how you approach parents. How far ahead do you invite them? How do you go about making them feel welcome and included?
Try including something to make parents feel special. If it’s an awards assembly, why not have the pupils present their parents with certificates too? The more positive an experience you make it, the more likely parents are to come back for more.
2. Try something new
If you tend to get low attendance at whole school events, maybe your school community needs something new to get excited about.
There are so many dates throughout the year where you can involve parents in their child’s education. The summer term includes national walking month, national picnic week and the Festival of Learning (previously adult learners week).
If none of these appeal, then why not plan an event that’s unique to your school? If it’s a success, you could establish your event as an annual tradition.
Think about what makes your school what it is, and what matters to your pupils and parents.
You could celebrate the cultural diversity of your school community with an international festival. Invite parents and pupils to come in traditional dress, or bring a dish that represents their country’s cuisine.
Or perhaps there is something of historical interest that makes your school special? Hold a fête and centre your theme around the decade your school was built in.
3. Ask for help
Whatever sort of event you organise, make sure you use it as an opportunity to build a stronger sense of community. Inviting parents to volunteer will make them feel more valued. Of course, there will be parents who can’t help out, but there will be many who are willing to give their time and resources.
This approach will also help you to get to know them better. Appealing for volunteers might reveal hidden talents and interests you wouldn’t otherwise have known about.
Making sure that you involve parents will help you to build more meaningful relationships with them. Just think about the impact this will have on pupil outcomes in the long-run!
Finally, make sure you have good communication systems in place so that parents are well informed. Don’t let all your good work go to waste because of missed communication!