How to improve parent teacher communication
Parent teacher communication guide
Good communication can enable multiple people with the same goal make sure they’re all moving in the same direction. This is especially relevant to education, as teachers, parents, and carers all want the same outcome: for a child to have the opportunity to learn and grow uninhibited. To ensure that goal is achieved, teachers and parents need to be able to communicate effectively.
However, while it has typically been left to young people to uphold communication between their teacher and their family, this dependence creates an unnecessary middleman. Enabling direct communication between teachers and parents therefore cuts out the middleman, meaning parents can stay informed and teachers can rest assured that their messages are being received.
Why do teachers struggle to communicate with parents?
Most parents have multiple commitments. Whether they have more than one child, more than one job, other family commitments, or all three, they may struggle to find the time to communicate with their child’s school.
Then, of course, there are other complications. Not all parents share English as their first language, for example. 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.
Yet, most parents want to be involved in their child’s education to some degree. Indeed, a 2021 report showed that 85% of parents want to play an active role in their child’s education.
This block between parents and teachers comes more specifically from a lack of opportunity or a lack of clear channels of communication. This is especially prevalent as children reach secondary school age as they no longer need their parents or guardians to pick them up or drop them off, meaning that for many secondary school pupils and their parents, school and home can feel like separate worlds.
Why do parent teacher communication channels matter?
As a result, parents are looking for easy ways to be kept in the loop on a regular basis that don’t necessarily involve them being physically present at the school gates.
For example, via a Parent App that provides parents with all the information they need in one place, such as their child’s timetable and a list of their child’s teachers. The Parent App from ReachMoreParents also enables direct and secure teacher parent communication, enabling teachers to answer queries and share key student data and reports (e.g., attendance). Using the ReachMoreParents platform, teachers can now even share pictures of work done in class via the dynamic social media style newsfeed, to give parents updates on what’s going on during school day
Keeping all the information parents and teachers need in one place can also ensure all SEND information is accessible and secure in one place. Alternatively, using a Homework App allows teachers to set, manage, submit, and mark pupils’ homework all in one place, and facilitates home learning.
All these tools are designed to make it simple for parents to get involved as often or as little as they would like - without sending endless communications that get lost in their email inboxes or at the bottom of their children’s bags.
How do you improve parent teacher communication?
- Embrace school communication software
Many schools have now embraced technology to make their communications more reliable. 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 ReachMoreParents custom branded app for schools. Teacher parent communication apps like the ReachMoreParents platform provides one core place for parents and carers to find out key information and can also facilitate communication between parents and teachers.
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. And with the ReachMoreParents platform, teachers can even set quiet hours so that they only get notifications during working hours, meaning they can protect their free time.
- Provide opportunities for parents to have their say
While an app can enable parents and teachers 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 teachers 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.
- Give families from different cultural backgrounds the opportunity to tell you their needs
Face-to-face meetings, whether they’re over video or in person, can also provide an important opportunity for teachers to spend time with parents from different cultural backgrounds who perhaps speak other languages and ask them directly how they prefer to communicate.
It might be that they need their child to translate, or that they just need extra time to be able to communicate themselves, or that they prefer to communicate via in-app messages. This way, you can put the ball in their court and allow them to tell you what they need from teachers to be able to communicate effectively. By just expecting them to be able to communicate in the same way as other parents, you risk alienating them and not allowing their child the full benefits of having a parent or guardian who is engaged in their education.
- Make parent teacher communication accessible
Schools should take into account the busy schedules of parents, potential language barriers, digital poverty, and physical or mental disabilities.
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.
However, there should always be alternative methods provided for those families that struggle to access any digital communications at all. By providing multiple methods for parent teacher communication, you can maximise your audience, for increased engagement that ensures every student is supported.
- Be clear, concise, and consistent
For the best engagement rates possible, communication between teachers 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 making communications more accessible 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.
Having difficult conversations
One of the best things about utilising education software is that, if there are any ongoing challenges in a pupil’s behaviour, attendance, or academic results, parents and carers are likely to already know about them. This therefore removes the element of having to share bad news when sitting down to discuss these issues with them and means that these conversations become less of a one-off chat and more of an ongoing conversation.
Not only is this a better approach for families, as it can help to reduce the feeling of being bombarded with bad news, but it’s better for the child too. Because if a child is having behavioural or academic issues, a one-off conversation is unlikely to instigate the kind of support they need.
Instead, using technology to keep up a consistent level of back and forth between parents and teachers means that teachers can stay up to date on what interventions the parent is trying at home, and parents can stay up to date on what kind of effect that intervention is having in class.
Get Parents Involved
Other ideas for getting parents involved in their children’s education include:
- Having at least one active parent group such as a PTA.
- Including parent representatives in school improvement planning and school committees.
- Using engagement software to conduct polls on decisions such as playground improvements.
- Providing remote options for parents’ evenings, so more parents can attend.
- Facilitating more opportunities for face-to-face parent teacher communication, such as discussion groups.
Engage even the most hard to reach parents
At ReachMoreParents by Weduc, we know how important it is to bridge the gap between school and home.
Housing everything parents need to see, do, and know under one parent communication app like ReachMoreParents leads to less confusion and greater accessibility. With everything in one place, they can see messages via their app instantly (not buried under numerous emails), reply securely, and check for news and information anywhere at any time – enabling teachers to engage even the most hard-to-reach parents.
We also offer a range of software all under the umbrella of our ReachMoreParents platform, from our Homework App to our Parents’ Evening System. We even offer custom branded apps for schools, so you can house all your parent teacher communications in one place.
Our team would love to show you how our software can help your school improve parent teacher communications. Click here to book a discovery call at a time that suits you or drop us a line via our enquiry form.