How to encourage parent collaboration in special education

Tuesday, 5 December 2023 by Weduc

How to facilitate parent involvement in special education

According to the statutory inclusion statement in the National Curriculum for England, schools have “a responsibility to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils.” Essentially, this means that schools need to provide an inclusive education that enables all pupils, of different backgrounds and abilities, to learn and achieve their potential.

This statutory inclusion statement sets out three principles for schools to achieve this goal:

  • set suitable learning challenges
  • respond to pupils’ diverse learning needs
  • overcome potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils.

Of course, pupils with special educational needs (SEND) experience a wide variety of different learning challenges. So, the best way to cater to each SEND pupil is to differentiate the learning experience according to their needs. For some pupils, this may require specialist equipment, for others it may require adapted approaches and activities.

However, a significant aspect of supporting SEND pupils is involving their parents or guardians in their education. This is because parents and guardians can provide a unique insight into their child’s needs and challenges and know how to work with them to help them achieve their best. Read on to find out how to encourage parent collaboration in special education.


The importance of parent involvement in special education 

Simply put, no one is likely to be as motivated to see a child with special educational needs succeed as their parent or guardian. Of course, there are exceptions, but the majority of the time this means a SEND child’s parent or guardian is their biggest educational advocate.

However, their input is particularly valuable because they have such a rounded insight into their child’s physical, social, and developmental needs. In fact, they are the only person who will be with that child from the beginning of their educational career to the very end. Especially because most teachers will only spend a few hours a week with each student. This means parents and guardians know and understand more than anyone else in the school about how to enable and support them.

This knowledge, combined with the educational expertise of school staff, can make for a powerful combination. Especially when a parent is empowered by the school to support their child’s learning at home, meaning a child with special educational needs can have all the support they need, when they need it.


Building a Collaborative Environment 

Collaboration is defined as the process of two or more people working together to achieve a common objective or goal. As such, effective collaboration requires all parties to be in pursuit of the same goal. To ensure these goals are aligned, parents or guardians and school staff need to communicate effectively.

A lack of understanding between parents and school staff can result in a disconnect that doesn’t serve the child. For instance, for the parent or guardian, their goal is most likely for their child’s school career to lay a solid foundation for a successful, fulfilling life. For many school staff, however, their goal might change on a daily basis depending on the challenges they’re facing and, on some days, might be as simple as getting a child through a lesson smoothly. This kind of disconnect can stand in the way of the child receiving the education they deserve and can also create tension between both parties.


How to create a collaborative environment

  1. Implement regular, structured communication that allows for shared decision-making and gives each party the space to work effectively in their role.
  2. Allow parents to tell teaching and support staff what they need to know about their child with special educational needs – who they are and what additional support they require.
  3. Share updates from the school day with parents through a communications app like ReachMoreParents so they can see for themselves what their child’s school day looks like.
  4. Enable parents and guardians to inform teachers quickly and easily if anything has changed in their child’s situation. For instance, if they’re in more pain than usual, struggling emotionally, or recovering from an autistic meltdown.
  5. Encourage parents and guardians to volunteer for school events and fundraisers.
  6. Create a space for all the parents and guardians of special educational needs pupils to get to know each other and share experiences.
  7. Enable quick and easy two-way communication between parents and school staff with a school communications app like ReachMoreParents.
  8. Plan together to prepare and support their child through any major transitions and/or life events.
  9. Provide a parent guide to special education so that all parents of SEND pupils at your school have access to the same information from the very beginning.
  10. Treat each parent or guardian as an individual. Essentially, don’t apply a cut and paste approach to communication with every parent of a special educational needs pupil – they’re all different and have different needs, just like their children.


How can ReachMoreParents simplify parent involvement in special education? 

The most important aspect of involving the parents of special educational needs pupils in their education is communication. The best way to enhance communication between parents and guardians and school staff is by using educational technology by software providers such as ReachMoreParents.

Here are a few of our offerings and how they can support parents of SEND children:

Parent App

Parents of SEND children need an efficient way to communicate with school staff without having to spend time waiting to get through on the phone. Equally, school staff need an easy way to contact parents in an instant. With free in-app messages/push notifications, our Parent App enables direct two-way communication between parents and school staff.

Custom branded apps for schools

Say goodbye to the days of messages getting lost in the gap between school and home. Now, you can house all your parent teacher communications software in one place, custom branded for your school. So there’s just one place for parents of SEND children to check for updates and stay up to date on their child’s education.

School Dinners App

Every child needs the right nourishment to see them through the school day. With our school meals app, allow parents to book meals in advance, set minimum and maximum limits to menu control, manage Free School Meals, and choose when to pay and prevent debt mounting up – all from one app.

Homework App

Give parents of special education needs children oversight of their child’s homework requirements and deadlines and enable them to participate in their child’s learning with our Homework App. Not only does this make it easier for parents to get involved with home learning but it also removes the burden of remembering for pupils and enables them to track their assignments all in one place – which can be particularly helpful for children with ADHD.

Parents’ Evening System

Host your parents’ evenings online to ensure that parents and children with access needs can take part from the comfort of their own home. Plus, give them the option of choosing their own appointment times, and provide helpful reminders in advance.


ReachMoreParents: Supporting inclusive education for all children

With a wide range of apps and software designed to further communication with every parent, the ReachMoreParents platform can help your school support parents of SEND children and improve educational outcomes.

To find out more about how the ReachMoreParents platform can be used to support parental involvement, click here to book a discovery call at a time that suits you, drop us a line via our enquiry form, or give us a call on 01509 221 349.

Start reaching more parents today