A two-way street

Home-school communications can set expectations and build relationships, says ParentMail

It’s widely acknowledged and supported that parental involvement provides a positive contribution to student attainment. However, in order for parents to be able to support their children, schools need to keep them informed and up-to-date with student progress and any areas of concern must be flagged at the earliest opportunity. Achieving a solid relationship between the school and home means that the focus will always be, and should be, on the student and their educational journey. To ensure this common goal is met, regular two-way communication is essential.

Home-school communications are a cost-effective way to reach parents quickly and efficiently, via email, text and app notifications. Instead of sending paper-based communications home, which can be costly for schools and often remain in student’s bags for months on end, digital methods enable schools to quickly and simply send updates, reports and reminders, as well as parents being able to make payments, give consent and respond in real-time.

“We’ve seen mobile technology play an increasingly important role in home-school communication,” says Geoff Jones, marketing director of ParentMail. “Having a platform allowing schools to get in touch regularly completely changes the dynamic of the parent-school relationship for the better.”

This communication can be reinforced through other methods such as an innovative website that uses digital features such as blogs and podcasts to keep parents informed.

“If used properly, your website can play a vital role in parental engagement and act as the perfect communication tool, so make sure you’re providing the information that parents want and need,” says Geoff Millington, managing director of PrimarySite. “Be sure to cover all the basics such as term dates, copies of letters and details of school lunches which will save many calls into the school office. Perhaps consider circulating a simple survey to parents asking them to provide feedback on what they’d like to see more or less of on your website.”

Websites are now increasingly becoming used for two-way communication, rather than simply informing parents of school news and announcements. Geoff Millington suggests getting the pupils involved in creating digital platforms, including blogs and podcasts, which can be hosted on the website. He says: “The feedback we’ve seen for ourselves suggests that pupils really gravitate towards activities like these. Pupils are now required to create online content as part of the National Curriculum – a blog is the ideal platform for this. Ask your pupils to write a regular blog for the website; it can focus on anything, from what they’ve done at the weekend to something they’ve learnt in a particular lesson.”

With the accessibility and availability of technology today, it’s an efficient way to enhance home-school communication to help alleviate any communication barriers that teachers and parents may have previously faced. Most importantly, it’s also quick to do, easy to manage and extremely cost-effective, so what have you got to lose?

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