But what things do parents really want to know about their child’s education?
First and foremost, perhaps, they want to know how well their child is doing and the options open to them when dealing with certain situations. For example, a child who is struggling in maths might benefit from additional tutorship and a school that can offer resources for this will be helping both parent and pupil.
Much of the evidence shows that pupils tend to react positively when their parents are involved and interested in their education. Highlighting successes as well as failures is therefore important and can make it easier for the parent to become involved and take an active and positive role in their child’s education.
Knowing what events are on and being able to arrange their own timetable around this information is also important for parents. In the past, this has been achieved by sending out letters to individual parents which can often get lost or forgotten about. The other option has been for parents to actively log into a school’s website and find the information they are looking for.
The latest range of school apps takes this a step further giving parents access to more immediate information and reminders. They can be quickly downloaded onto a smartphone or tablet and used to disseminate a wide range of information. If there is an event coming up, notifications can be sent to a block of parents and provision can be tailored to meet the needs of particular groups.
Research has shown that parents can often be feel left out of the education process and that the more positive groups tend to be those where regular communication is employed. In the past, lack of technology meant that schools had to think about the types of communications they were sending out and often the only time there was contact was at events like parent teacher evenings and school plays or fairs.
There’s no doubt that growing technology has begun to change this but there are still many schools that are not using it to their best advantage. Not only can a tool such as a school app be tailored to specific needs but it can also represent a real cost saving measure in terms of time as well as money.
These kinds of technology also have the vital function of building a strong connection between parents and schools which is invaluable. It means parents are more likely to take an active part in all parts of the school and better understand how their child fits into that. This can also help individual children to overcome barriers they may have in learning and make them more likely to engage with their parents about their own education.