Supporting Parent-Teacher engagements

Jane Wood-Chambers

Friday, 17 August 2018

1. Make yourself available to chat with the families

If you are in the Early Years Foundation Stage or are a Primary practitioner, then it can be relatively easy for you to be accessible. However, sometimes the consequence of being too accessible is it can eat into your preparation, meeting and assessment time!

Set the limitations yourself to ensure that you have pertinent conversations and equally the time to talk to alleviate fears concerns and to also gain and give information. ‘Meet and greet’ and ‘goodbye and thank you’ times at the classroom door are there for the children first and their families second.

Make this clear and known. If you are able to have another member of staff with you (support) then rotate the child adult and the parent adult and give 5 minutes each morning to both before the learning starts and the door closes.

Let families know what the time is and then be strict with the timings. Let them know what it is for and then be strict with it only being for that! E.g. It is to inform the school of a change of arrangements for the end of the day pick up or to hand in a show and tell item.


2. Encourage the families to allow the children to hand in letters and slips and their homework

Use the bookbag as the postbox and also ensure as a class teacher that book bags are routinely looked through and letters and slips emptied, acknowledged and answered.

I would ask the children at registration if there was anything they needed to hand in to me and the have a look through the bags that were housed in their trays at lunchtime.


3. Daily systems encourage trust

Daily systems mean the parents trust that you get the information and will equally ensure that the reduce the amount of time they as of you at the door. Have a copy of any letters that you send home on your noticeboard at the exit door and always put one into the child’s bookbag or support them in doing it.


4. The first parent conference outlines management and organisation

This is the time to manage and organise the first meeting at which you engage certain members of the parent cohort. Often such engagements have a sign-up sheet on the door for the meetings, meaning the families who pick their children up from school get the first choice of times. However, this is not so great for working families or those at college themselves!

Send home a letter with preferred slot times; 3.45-4.45pm, 4.45-5.45pm and 6.00-7.00pm –  but remember to factor in a break for yourself! Parents can then request a slot time and you allocate an appointment within it.

It also allows you and the other members of staff to coordinate meeting times for siblings and translators and other colleagues who may need to be present (SENCO, mentors and pastoral support workers).


5. During the evening make sure the following happens:

  • All letters etc. are available on the table to take – even if the families have had them it helps with mums and dads who don’t live together to have access to their own paperwork

  • Put out play things and toys for younger siblings to keep themselves occupied during talk time

  • Outline your expectations for the year/term and ask open-ended questions to elicit a full picture of the family and the child’s life. This is essential as it helps you to know the child in context and the support you can offer

  • Make sure at the meetings run to time and that if there are additionally adults present from school or to translate give a double appointment

  • Be yourself, smile, relax and enjoy! You are an important person in the family’s life and all they really need to know from you is that you are kind, fair, like their child and will educate them well. Get that across to them and you are half way there to a positive relationship!

Start to think about the above suggestions for September so that you can start as you mean to go on!

I would see the first parents meeting as your first monitored lesson and make sure that you are super prepared and organised and know the outcome that you would like from each dialogue. They then know that you are on it and will work with you!

Watch out for Blog Number 3 and 4 for further ideas of support in parent-teacher engagements.



About our Community Expert


Jane Chambers-Wood
Editorial Advisory Board Lead

Over 27 years of educational experiences in a number of settings. Developed a clear vision and ethos for inclusion which puts the child at the centre and a clear understanding of how to support, engage and nurture the individual.

Ability to train all staff through effective and reflective continual professional development in behavioural management techniques that begin, establish and maintain change in all.

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