For some mums and dads, this might be as simple as understanding better the journey their child is going through. That can include things like grades and successes, as well as subject areas where an individual might be struggling. For other parents, effective communication can make them feel more involved in the school and lead to them willing to play a bigger part. This can include, for example, getting involved in organising events or even helping to shape future school policy.
It's all about creating interest and that can’t be done without a communication process that allows parents to feel part of the school community. This means developing an open and inclusive policy for reaching out to parents that helps build a stronger link between the bricks and mortar of the school, its teachers and the home.
It’s almost 20 years since the Government first put forward a white paper outlining their expectations that schools would involve parents a lot more. That not only meant giving parents the right information at the right time but also providing a way they can have a voice which in turn can help develop valuable partnerships.
Since then, some major changes have taken place. In 1997, when the white paper was first produced, we weren’t using mobile phones as we do now. The mini computers that many of us now carry around with us were still a thing of the future.
In the past, communication has been about getting letters out to parents and trying to get them involved with all aspects of the school’s running. The development of web pages that gave out certain information began to make a difference too but it has been the creation of dedicated school apps where things have really begun to change quite dramatically.
Schools can now develop their own communication system which allows them to send immediate notifications to parents and tailor content quickly in a cost-effective manner. This means that parents have more information at their fingertips than they have ever had before and this is helping to develop relationships that previously didn’t exist.
Children are also benefiting from advances in technology. It means that parents are in a sense ‘more on the ball’ than they may have been in the past. Parents aren’t just being contacted when things go wrong or if there is a problem that needs to be addressed. They’re involved in the school’s communication strategy and head teachers can now put this kind of approach at the forefront of all their policies.
Essentially, communication strategies create a much stronger bond between parents, pupils and teachers to form a strong community that works together to produce the best in education. A lot, of course, depends on how schools use devices such as apps to deliver this but many head teachers are now discovering the real benefits for everyone.