Session 8 – Strategies to Engage Parents in Schools

Title of Session:
Strategies to Engage Parents in Schools

Session Summary:
The discussion looked at various ways of engaging with parents within school. This included using technology to communicate with parents through email/SMS etc and using tools such as blogs, websites and VLEs.

We also talked about non-tech and face-to-face resources and ideas such as coffee mornings, open days, workshops (or BOATS – bring our adults to school), BBQs, and lots of other inventive ways of engaging with parents.
There were some differences between primary and secondary. Primary have more face-to-face time than secondary do and there were HE and FE who have none at all.

Tweets of Note:
shellbelle21:Within the maths department we invite year 7 parents in for a workshop – show them basic numeracy skills and methods #ukedchat
dawnhallybone:at beg/end of day member of SLT always outside the gates – saying bye/hi and being ‘seen’
simcloughlin:My school has a dedicated parents’ room, which the parents are free to use every morning for coffee, chat etc
dailydenouement:Think in Secondary is actually getting hold of parents & getting them in is issue – not a school gate/home time culture
dawnhallybone:when running courses for parents we run them 3x a day am, afternoon and evening enables as many parents as poss
iteachyear4: Our school is starting a drop in room for parents to come in and have coffee etc. Not sure what staff will be there though
TheHeadsOffice: Parents confidence in thier own ability to engage can really be a barrier!
dailydenouement:Then what about having a cultural exchange day – invite parents in to share food/music/language/crafts from home culture?
shellbelle21: We are just about to create our “Parent Portal” – parents can access child’s h/w, report data etc
katie_hague: VLE was a huge help in interesting parents with child’s work – they got much more involved
TheHeadsOffice: Parents can be dubious about being asked for their views unless they see them in action!
primarypete_: we have end of topic open afternoons where parents are invited to share what the children have been learning / doing
dawnhallybone: learning intentions sheet sent home every week to parents detailing what main LOs in each yr gp – also put on vle
daviderogers: Parental engagement is difficult for us 1300 students. Dept uses SMS, twitter feed and emails to GCSE parents
daviderogers: At 2ry I find picking up the phone for positive conversations with parents is a good starting point
cybraryman1: Right from the start of school you have to develop a relationship with parent & find best way they want to communicate with you
bevevans22: Something we’ve done quite successfully each term is have a ‘join your child for lunch’ day with parent workshops afterwards
Cgeo28: postcards home from the teacher to celebrate good work is simple but effective
dawnhallybone: blogging and vle has enabled parents to be more engaged and see photos and info from trips abroad
JustTeaching: Recently had health morning & invited parents for breakfast followed by activities, simple idea but it worked & feedback was good
simcloughlin: All classes in our school have a file listing parents’ skills & expertise,so new teachers are aware in Sept who they can call upon
dawnhallybone:impt to engage with parents with positive news as equally as negative – if not more
kvnmcl:parental engagement is more than a letter home, a phone call here and there. It has to be meaningful with the parents on board
Mr_Thorne: My website shows parents current #phonics methods & how to support their childs reading at home. mmm not ‘muh’
cybraryman1: Occasionally have a parent-child joint project. When you invite parent in have light refreshment available, childcare too
LibWithAttitude:Saw great presentation from schl that did ‘Dads & Lads’ writing – no girls allowed,& had chips!
simonhaughton:#ukedchat I blogged from a residential to keep parents informed. Had lots of thanks for doing it – &
primarypete_: Planning on creating video support for parents explaining maths strats used by the school. Bit like
simfin: If u want 2 have a parents esafety sesh -invite them 2 a ‘celebrate ICT across th school’ session. have coffee in hall & esafety!!
amyxxx21: Home-school agreements are another hot topic! They are called that to make it look like it is mutual, but really…
colport: My approach with parents is that I am a professional, but not too different to them, in wanting the best for their child.
carolinebreyley: Our parent/child workshops always get better attendance than parents only. Feedback is that want hands on/practical workshops
ianaddison: one thing that helped us improve workshop attendance was to make it as informal and fun as poss. It can’t be scary!
alee11: We invite parents to join classes for lessons every couple of months, just an hour, normally Maths or English, works well.
SkoorBttaM: we’re looking to run parent workshops at the same time as children’s discos etc, so that they’re at school killing 2 birds….
DavidPott: being tolerant of pre-school siblings when inviting parents in is v important
simonhaughton: I run a weekly parent/child Internet after school internet club (no focus – just explore) & been v. successful
amyxxx21: Often parents who hated school when they were younger, and found it
challening, bring these same negative thoughts as an adult.
stevebunce: combining school play/performance with informal questionnaires- gets parents thro door,then gets more feedback than a posted out 1
JustTeaching: i know a school that calls workshops BOATS – bring our adults to school.
TheHeadsOffice: Policies etc need to be simple & short (A4) if parents are to
engage #ukedchat some of our policies pages long!
dawnhallybone: year 6 children had out prospectus and show new year 3 parents round school also sit in on meeting for q and a
colport:Technology has its use for Parental Engagement, but we need to remember those digitally excluded, for one reason or another
ianaddison: i had a book, each page had a child’s name, wrote down notes when parents came in,
JamiePortman: Get your school a facebook account. Promote events and encourage parents to attend.
Unbelievable amount use it

Tweet of the Week
Impossible to pick one! There were far too many good ideas.

Links Highlighted During the Session
Parental Involvement

About the Host Moderator:

So who am I? My name is Ian Addison and I am a primary school teacher and ICT co-ordinator. From September 2010 I will be responsible for the ICT at St John the Baptist Primary School, Waltham Chase, Hampshire.

Why have I got this blog? I started one in December 2009 on Blogger, but I felt I needed more, so here I am –

From 2008-2010 I was seconded to work with Hampshire LA training teachers on using our VLE, Studywiz. We have 400+ primary schools in Hampshire using it and sharing content and ideas.

I have been an ICT Mark Assessor since October 2008 and this involves me supporting and assessing schools that have decided to use the Becta Self-Review Framework for ICT.

In July 2010, I attended the Google Teacher Academy in London and I am now a Google Certified Teacher.

If you want to find out more or listen to what I say, feel free to follow me on Twitter:

Taken from my blog.

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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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