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One of the most important times that mums and dads get to meet teachers is during a parent’s evening. While these can be useful to understand how your child is doing in specific subjects and whether there are any problems, they can be quite hectic.

Going in prepared with the right questions can make the experience much more worthwhile. Here’s our parent apps guide.

Why are Parent’s Evenings So Important?

You normally get around 10 minutes with each teacher during the evening. While this isn’t a lot of time, it gives you opportunity to meet them face to face and quickly discuss issues. It’s also important to understand how your child is doing and have some questions at the ready. This is generally just an update on progress so staying focused is important.

In secondary schools, children are invited to attend the parent’s evening and this can be quite important in helping the develop positively. Not all schools do this, however, so it’s worth checking beforehand.

Listing Your Questions

It’s a good idea to chat with your child prior to the evening, although you’re not always guaranteed to get a straight answer.

Here are some of the questions you might like to have listed down to ask:

  • Is your child working within the expectations of the teacher? A child may, for example, have a talent for a particular subject but isn’t pushing themselves enough or they might be struggling because it’s something they find difficult.
  • Are there things that your child does well or particularly badly? This will give you a chance to try remedies and extra teaching to get them up to speed or provide praise for those things that are working well.
  • What can your child do to improve? This is a big question and you probably want more than just concentrating more in class or doing their homework on time. It does, however, give you the beginnings of a plan.
  • How can you provide support as a parent? This is something many parents need help with. They want their child to learn but be independent without interfering too much. Finding a happy balance can be difficult but if there are one or two aspects that you can help with it might make a big difference to their education.
  • What do your child’s grades say about their future potential performance in exams? This may well give you an idea about how much work needs to be done and how to maintain standards or raise them, perhaps by arranging some private tuition.
  • How does your child get on with other children in class and do they contribute to answering questions? It’s not all about the standard of work, how a child behaves in the social environment of a classroom can demonstrate whether they have confidence in their ability or are struggling a little.

Don’t Get Upset with Criticism

Teachers generally look to give a positive spin on things and offer advice and guidance to parents. If there is some criticism from a teacher, it’s important to take this on board and not get upset. It’s not being offered out of malice but as something that should be addressed.

When you have finished the parent’s evening and get home, you might want to put together some action points that you and your child want to follow through. For example, if your child is producing poor homework in you might want to try new rules such as completing as soon as they get in before they watch television or play.