According to ParentKind’s annual survey, only 57% of parents report being satisfied with the opportunities available to get involved in school life. That’s a lot of parents.
This indicates that schools could be doing more to bridge the gap. And with further research showing that parental engagement can have a real impact on pupil progress, it’s clear there is genuine value in schools investing in long-term strategies to increase parental involvement.
The benefits of actively involving parents in school life are not only reflected in the classroom, but are now seen as a contributing factor towards an Outstanding Ofsted rating.
Ofsted is encouraging schools to capitalise upon the vast swaths of tech available. Technology that is designed to ease admin headaches and save money, while harnessing the power of parental involvement in education.
But with ever-shrinking budgets and heavy workloads to contend with, how do schools even begin to better engage parents?
Well, here’s the deal - connecting with parents needn’t break the bank nor add to teachers’ workloads. We’ve compiled a list of easy and affordable ways you can start engaging parents in learning.
4 Tips to Support Parental Engagement in Schools
1. Use Surveys to Improve Parental Involvement
Only 3 in 10 parents feel their voices are listened to at MAT, Local Authority and Government Level as outlined in ParentKind’s survey. This statistic stresses the need for schools to provide a greater platform for parents to express their opinions, and surveys could be the answer.
Surveys are an invaluable tool when it comes to determining the success of recent initiatives and identifying further room for improvement in line with Ofsted’s requirements. They can also play an instrumental part in bridging the disconnect between parents and the Governing Board, creating a win-win situation in which parents both add value and feel valued.
Surveys should be promoted as far and wide as possible to ensure a high response rate and increased visibility. This could be through the school’s website, newsletters, blog posts or even social media channels.
2. Implement a School App for Parents
Parent communication can come in many forms; schools are now adopting multiple methods and systems, but this can often confuse staff and parents.
A simpler way to keep parents engaged in learning is through a school app: an easy to use single solution which provides parents with all the information they need anytime, anywhere.
Tools such as Schoolcomms’ Parent App are specifically designed to simplify parent communication. Parents can receive important notifications direct to their smartphones, which ensures they are constantly kept in the know. The app even syncs with the school’s MIS, enabling parents to be notified of any unexplained absences, homework requests and achievement reports.
What’s more, parent communication needn’t cost a thing, with free two-way app messaging and Online Reporting on offer; schools can benefit from massive savings in terms of texting, printing and postage.
In summary, parent apps ensure all important information is readily accessible, enabling parents to stay informed and involved while reducing the time and money schools spend on unnecessary admin – everyone’s a winner!
3. Optimise Your School Website
Websites – while often overlooked – provide a simple but effective means of encouraging parent involvement in schools.
The school website can offer a wealth of information on how parents can get involved with the school. The site could be used to access parent surveys, guides on how best to improve pupil achievement, or even blog posts detailing new initiatives or strategies for improvement.
With many parents unclear on who their Governors are or what they even do, a school’s website can also provide supplementary information on the Governing Board. This will enable parents to feel more of a connection with those who are responsible for acting in their best interests.
4. Use Social Media to Improve Parent Communication
Social media presents a great opportunity for schools to actively engage with parents via easily digestible updates posted in real-time.
When used alongside more traditional methods of parent communication, social media can both strengthen and enhance a school’s communication strategy. Parents might even prefer to stay up to date via these online channels, so schools could be missing a trick if they’re not using social media to keep in touch with their parents.
A school can also use social media to enhance its reputation. They might choose to promote the positive outcomes of any recent initiatives, strategies or reports. This would enable parents and the wider public to share in the success of the school and stay up to speed with any new developments.
Not all parents will be active on social media, so schools should adopt additional methods of communication. For example, schools can also use parent apps, newsletters, parents’ evenings and meetings to maintain parental engagement.