Parents can become ‘a school’s greatest advocate’ and can be one of, or the only factor in another parent choosing your school.
With this being true, are you making the most of them? Is parental engagement a priority?
Donna from The School Report emphasises how important it is.
Parental Engagement, two words that seem to generate an air of apprehension amongst us all.
But why is this?
The Education Endowment Foundation recommends that schools should be critically reviewing their aims and approaches to parental engagement, with two-way communication about how parents can be involved. Currently around half of parents say they have not been consulted and with fewer than 10% of teachers having undertaken CPD on parental engagement, progression is likely to require sustained effort and support. Maybe this is why? Expecting negative press is another common reason to have us running for the hills.
Or is it something else?
For many years, talking about school, out of school has been discouraged, and yet schools and parents have a shared objective to deliver the best outcomes for children. So why do we continue with the status quo? Is it because that is the way it has always been and it is difficult and time consuming to make a change? It takes confidence and courage to be genuinely interested in what others think of your service. Parental recommendations are frequently at the top of the list when choosing a new school, parents want to know what it is really like to go to your school on a day-to-day basis. You will often hear schools talk about children being their greatest ambassadors, but we do not often hear about the parents that become a school’s greatest advocate. Can you as a school put a price on that? Why are we not using this free resource to our advantage? I am sure you will see many organisations outside of education doing just that on a daily basis.
One of the questions we repeatedly ask our parental community is would you recommend your school to another parent? So far, the answer has always been YES! Our amazing testimonials also demonstrate what great advocates parents really are. School websites often have pages dedicated to what the parents say! So why do we fear their feedback? Maybe it is the word ‘feedback’ that creates negative connotations and we subconsciously concentrate on the word rather than what is being said. Great feedback is often constructive feedback. It allows an organisation to grow, it can take the good to great, the great to outstanding, and the outstanding to inspirational. Everyone wants to be a part of a school where collaboration makes impressive things happen. Every parent wants to be involved in promoting a school that values their opinion, celebrates the successes and concentrates on the areas to develop. Let’s face it, we all have them, don’t we? Without them how would we grow evolve and fulfil our potential?
We will often ask schools two questions when understanding the importance of parental feedback to them as a school. Firstly – how valuable is an Outstanding Ofsted report to your school and secondly how important is parental satisfaction in achieving that Outstanding Ofsted Report. The most common answer for both to date is VERY!
So, do you have a plan for parental engagement? What are your objectives? And how do you plan to monitor progress?
It sounds time consuming and hard work…yes? It doesn’t have to be. The School Report offers a subscription service to schools that allows you to respond to feedback, download data reports for each year group in your school and allows you to track improvements from year to year or term to term, allowing you to generate a plan with ease. The report can provide insight, reduce costs, save time and increase your parent friendly credentials. All this available at the touch of a button as many times as you need it throughout the year, ideal for those impromptu Ofsted visits! But most importantly it’s a great way to show your parental community that you care, that you value their opinion, that you are in this together and that parental engagement can be a good thing. Working collectively can only help to improve things for all of us, by raising standards and aspirations in each and every one of us, so that together we can ensure that our future generations receive the standard of education that they deserve.
Parental engagement those two words again. Do you still fear them?
Why not get in touch with us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to see what we can do for your school.