1. ‘If it’s not broke don’t fix it’ mentality
One of the main obstacles effecting school to parent engagement is the stigma that parents only need to get involved with school if there’s a problem with their child’s behaviour or abilities for example. This negative perspective has resulted in parents not actively getting involved with their child’s school unless an issue presents itself first. To breakdown this flawed mentality your school needs to address the ethos of home-school communications by highlighting to parents how their involvement can be instrumental in supporting their child’s learning and development, even if their child is performing well to begin with.
2. Fear of the unknown
Some parents may be reluctant to engage with their child’s school and teachers because they have negative memories of their own time in education, for example they may have had learning difficulties or been bullied. This can have a big impact on parents who may find communicating with staff or even going back into a school environment in order to attend for example parents evenings quite a daunting task. The best way for schools to overcome these fears is to hold informal fun events aimed at bringing parents and teachers together so they can both put a face to the name so to speak. Getting teachers to start classroom blogs is also a great way to keep parents informed and it can show them just how fun learning can be for their child as staff can post entertaining photographs and videos of children enjoying their music or arts lesson for example.
3. Can’t get into school
Many parents work long hours and just aren’t available to get into school during school hours, whilst some can’t make it to early evening events because they have a long way to commute back from work. This presents a big challenge for working parents who want to be more involved with their child’s learning but feel like their hands are tied because they have work commitments that they also have to meet. One of the ways your school can effectively overcome this issue is by allowing parents to have virtual access to your school by posting class blogs which highlight good work by pupils. Whilst regularly updating your website with key information such as the latest OFSTED reports and exam result averages so parents can monitor how the school ranks as well as access how well their child is performing.
4. Too much jargon
Being too corporate in the messages and content you send out to parents can be a big issue as talking in industry terms and using jargon that you use with colleagues can be confusing. In fact some parents might not even understand what you are trying to say even if they are fluent in English so don’t speak like a robot talk like a human and use language you’d use when having a normal conversation. Likewise don’t use over complicated words either just keep it simple and to the point as parents will not have time to try and decipher what your trying to tell them!
5. Infrequent communication
Your school may not be communicating enough with parents, especially if you’re only sending home the occasional newsletter. This can be a problem for parents who want to know more about their child’s development but may be limited to one report or parents evening per year. To ensure that parents receive a better dialogue about their child’s learning your school can increase the frequency at which you communicate with them and improve the platforms you use for communicating. In particular channels that allow you to have a two way conversation such as social media and blogs are beneficial as they allow parents to get more involved and have their say.
We hope you have found this article helpful. To find out more about how our mobile apps can assist you with breaking down the obstacles that could be effecting parental engagement get in touch with us today by calling us on 0151 600 5499 or emailing email@example.com