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5 top tips for communicating with parents
Why is it important to build a relationship with parents?
Good communication is key to a positive working relationship. Essentially, it ensures that multiple people with the same goal are all moving together in the same direction.
When it comes to education, schools, parents, and carers all want the same thing: for a child to have the opportunity to learn and grow uninhibited. To ensure that goal is achieved, schools and parents need to be able to work together effectively.
However, it has typically been left to young people to uphold communication between their school and their parents or guardians. While some pupils might deliver a letter or a permission form on time, every time, others might entirely forget, leaving parents and carers to find forms and slips lingering in the bottom of their bag months later.
Ensuring schools have a strong relationship with parents therefore cuts out the middleman. It means parents are always in the know, schools can rest assured that their messages are being received, and pupils can go about their day without worrying they’ve forgotten anything important.
Why do schools struggle to communicate with parents?
There can be many barriers to schools communicating effectively with parents. For starters, many parents have multiple commitments. They may have more than one child, as well as other family commitments, and a full-time job. All of these factors can result in a lack of flexibility and availability.
Then, of course, there are other complications. Not all parents share English as their first language, for example. And not all have access to the internet at home, making online communication more difficult.
Plus, for those schools without a universal form of communication, like a mobile app, there’s the added stress of relying on pupils to pass on messages. All in all, this results in parents who are either uninformed or misinformed, and schools that don’t know where they stand.
5 top tips for communicating with parents1. Make technology your friend
As previously mentioned, paper-based communications are extremely unreliable. That’s why many schools are embracing technology. Whether it’s in-app messages, SMS, or emails, technology is enabling schools and parents to communicate on-the-go, facilitating quicker responses and better engagement overall.
By far, the most effective way to embrace technology is with a school parent communications app, such as the Weduc custom branded app for schools. A communications app provides one core place for parents and carers to find out key information. Plus, it can enable you to send out messages, track responses, and retarget those who haven’t replied in real-time.
Teacher parent communication apps like the Weduc platform can also facilitate communication from parents to schools. This means parents and carers can ask questions when they need, ensuring they feel listened to and can have their queries resolved in a timely and efficient manner.2. Provide opportunities for parents to have their say
While an app can enable parents to ask questions and send messages when they need to, it’s important they have a regular space to air their thoughts in a more personal manner.
The great benefit of technology is it can enable even the busiest of parents to engage in a face-to-face way via video calls. And of course, there’s still nothing like an in-person meeting to enable parents and school staff to get to know one another.
An app can facilitate face-to-face appointments via a calendar function with alerts, so that meetings aren’t forgotten, and time isn’t wasted. This can also improve Parents’ Evening attendance, by making it possible to attend both in-person and via a video call. You can find out more about Parents’ Evening video calls on our Features page.3. Make communication accessible
Schools should take into account the busy schedules of parents, potential language barriers, and digital poverty.
What sets a mobile app apart is it’s as universally accessible as you can get. Not every family has a computer, but most will have a mobile phone they can access. Plus, an app can provide language translations and audible functions, so that truly every family is catered for.
This is why electronic methods of communication can be so incredibly useful, in order to provide language translations and enable parents and carers to engage with communications on their own schedule.
However, for those families that struggle to access digital communications, alternative methods should be provided.4. Communicate through various channels
This is where it’s important to continue to communicate through a variety of channels. To understand how parents would like to be communicated with, it’s important to take note of their preferences.
So those that are happy with digital methods, such as an app, email, or social media, can rely purely on those, while those who’d rather stick with paper-based letters can still be catered for.
By providing multiple methods for communication, you can maximise your audience, for increased engagement that ensures every student is supported.5. Be clear, concise, and consistent
For the best engagement rates possible, communication between schools and parents should be as clear and concise as possible. Not only will this reduce admin in the long run, but it will ensure pupils are best supported with no potential misunderstandings waiting in the wings.
Plus, with a custom branded app you can ensure all your communications look, feel, and sound consistent, aiding understanding and clarity.
However, another important part of ensuring school communications are easy to understand is ensuring parents and carers are technologically literate, so they know how to navigate digital communication methods. If this is via an app, then providing quick tutorials, either in person or online, on how to get the most out of it should be a priority.
Similarly, if you tend to share whole school messages on your website, ensuring parents know exactly where to look for the latest news is extremely important. Having a smart website design is key to making it easy to navigate and enabling you to update both your app and your website in one go.
Let’s talk communications
At Weduc, we know that supporting schools communicating with parents benefits everyone involved, and ultimately supports learning for pupils.
If you want to find out more about how Weduc can support your school communications, click here to book an informal chat at a time that suits you.
Alternatively, drop us a line via our enquiry form, or give us a call on 01509 221 349.