Parents want schools to give them more personalised information about their child’s learning, a new report has revealed.
Firefly Learning, an online platform for school engagement, found in its research that the top three requests from parents were: more personalised information about their child’s learning; more regular communication; and more information on how they can support their child.
Although many parents receive updates on their child’s learning at least monthly, a third are only getting updates half-termly or termly.
When asked about how schools stayed in touch about children’s learning, only two fifths reported being able to see their child’s homework and assignments online, and a similar number said they could see the feedback their child receives on their homework.
The research found that teachers’ most popular communication method to stay in touch with parents was to use video conferencing, followed by online parent portals and email. Teachers were much less likely to use traditional means like letters, telephone or face-to-face meetings. Parents reported that their most popular method of communication was email.
Jo Mason, head of communications at South Hampstead High School, said: “The pandemic enabled us to trial different ways to share feedback, such as online parents’ evenings, which we plan to continue. The challenge of communication in general is to provide information that’s timely and relevant, and not to overwhelm already busy parents.
“We issue tailored messages each Friday, sharing reminders and updates that are personalised for each pupil and parent. Engaging with our parent community is a team effort – from the reception team to teachers and senior leaders, as well as via our students themselves – it’s important to take a holistic approach.”
The research also found that parents were overwhelmingly positive about their child’s school with 83% saying their child’s school met or exceeded expectations. In contrast, only 67% of teachers felt their school was meeting or exceeding parent expectations. Furthermore, interviews with teachers, school leaders and education stakeholders, all expressed surprise at how positive parents feel.
Dan Locke-Wheaton, principal of Aston University Engineering Academy, said: “It’s hugely encouraging to know parents are positive about their child’s school and that so many would like to receive more information about their child’s learning.
“The challenge for schools is how we can provide this without it taking too much time. For me, technology can play a vital role, giving parents – and teachers – the flexibility to engage with parents at a time and place of their choosing.”