A study by Capita (2016) into 1,864 Primary school parents and teachers uncovered four areas of concern related to the way the school communicates reports with parents and the way that the whole school community is engaged:
- Lack of information about child performance conveyed between school and parent, with school reports often seen as being too generic or simply don’t include the information they require.
- Absence of information around child happiness and confidence. Three quarters of parents (74%) stated that it was very important to have information on happiness and confidence, but less than half (46%) felt that they were receiving this information from the school, according to the study.
- Requirement from parents for a more personalised approach from schools.
- Concern from schools that additional effort in this area will add to teacher workload. The report states that 85% of teachers agreed that progress-tracking technology positively impacts on their workload when it comes to monitoring pupil progress.
These four areas can often be the cause of conflict between parent and school. While Primary schools in particular are recording more information about pupils than before, there is often a feeling among parents that it is not being shared effectively with them.
Without “Sometimes comments are written in the language of educationists.”specific grades being allocated to a pupil, parents may feel they are not receiving enough information about the progress of their children, or feel unable to make sense of the information provided – sometimes comments are written in the language of educationists rather than in plain English. Teachers themselves sometimes feel in conflict with their own school, as a result of new procedures put in place that add to the workload the teacher has to manage.
The technology industry has provided tools over the years that solve some of the problems faced in modern day classrooms. However, in solving one problem, another is sometimes created. The number of new systems that teachers and parents are expected to learn to use, manage and remember login details for, keeps on rising – and this can cause difficulties for all concerned.
In addition to the efforts that parents and teachers have to make in order to learn how to use several products, the added cost of multiple technologies to the school can often mount up to tens of thousands of pounds – much needed money that could be spent furthering the quality of learning and teaching within the school.
The world we live and learn in is evolving and it's “Schools need to review the systems on the market.”important that we introduce the right tools to ensure everyone in the learning process remains informed, but most importantly, understands what everything means. Schools need to review the systems on the market and select the right, most inclusive technology to help improve communication and understanding rather than introducing a number of difference systems in a piecemeal fashion.
As the Capita study says, schools need to find ways to help parents fully understand how pupils are being assessed, especially with all the changes over the last couple of years, including the creation of a multi-way dialogue.
Many scholarly articles have been written that underline that the more involved parents are in their child’s education, the better the student performs in the classroom.
As far back as 1997 a government white paper discussed the importance of finding new ways of involving parents in education, saying that “The involvement of parents is also crucial in supporting the work of the school both in planning and working with children.”
It’s important that every school is provided access to a simple, almost effortless to use, whole-school communication platform that, with positive uptake from all users, can guarantee the effective engagement of all stakeholders within the school.
Schools must now evolve not only the curriculum and teaching strategies, but also the best methods of communicating effectively and continuously with parents – selecting the right technology platform from the outset can play a big part in this.
How do you achieve effective communication? Let us know below.