In an article in TES last Friday, Nichola Thorpe, executive headteacher of Worsbrough Bank End Primary School near Barnsley talks about the importance of achieving the right type of parental engagement.
By implementing various changes, such as a daytime parent’s evening (since many families in her area are affected by unemployment), appointment times and turning the school hall into an area demonstrating school activities, parent’s attendance at their parent’s evenings has jumped from 40 per cent to 98 per cent in just three years. She believes this is down to their commitment to enhancing parental engagement.
As teachers know, Ofsted’s leading requirement for parental engagement is that “The school has a good partnership with parents and carers and keeps them informed of pupils’ progress, including through learning journals, reading diaries and regular reports.”
The reason Ofsted are so hot on parental engagement, is that a parent showing regular interest in what their child is doing at school can add an extra 3 months progress to a child’s achievement over a year.
The Earwig system is another huge leap forward for parental engagement. By giving parents a login to see their child’s Earwig’s timelines they can access all of the photos that teachers have put up of their child. This means parents can see what activities their children have been doing at school, they can even watch videos of classroom performances and school trips.
By giving parents a login, you are giving some of the control back to the parent. They can choose how often to look at their child’s timeline, they can choose what to discuss with their child about the school day (rather than just what the child chooses to tell them) and they can choose some of the topics for discussion at parent’s evening, which can really help the parent/teacher relationship. This way, when it comes to parent’s evening, the parent has more knowledge about what the school is doing for their child, and therefore won’t feel ‘talked at’ by the teacher who they feel knows so much more than they do, a reoccurring problem for many teachers.