As a parent, I hope that when I leave my son or daughter at school they are safe, happy and, ultimately, learning. But beyond these basic expectations what do parents really want to see from their child’s school and what do they hope to get from their teachers?
We spoke to a selection of parents to find out more and this is what they told us…………….
“As a parent I need to feel connected to the goings on at school. Communication is key to my child’s wellbeing and education. I want my child to have fond memories of these early school years and it is his teacher, not me, that will be shaping these” Zoe, Mum of 2
“I want a teacher to spot my child’s potential in different areas and lead them to achieve the best of their abilities” Nathalie, mum of 2
“I want their teacher to be the one they still remember as an adult. We all have memories of those teachers who really caught our imagination and taught us to think for ourselves. I want my son’s school to facilitate creativity and independence within a supportive and nurturing environment” Hilary, mum of 2
“For me it is great when I can really see that my child’s teacher is excited and passionate about their job. When the teacher is enjoying what they’re doing I think it shows in the excitement and learning of their students. I love going to collect the girls and seeing them happy and excited to tell me about their day” Adam, Dad of 2
“Home – school communication is so important in helping me to support my child effectively. I can’t always get a full picture of what is going on in the classroom and in the playground from my child alone, I need to hear from the teachers and staff to fully understand. If there is a problem I want to know that the school make me aware and include me in a discussion about how we can move forward” Helen, Mum of 3
“As my son starts school I think it is important that as parents we know feel that the school is able to create and safe environment, in more ways than one. I need to feel confident that not only is the environment safe but that issues like bullying are dealt with effectively” Duncan, Dad of 1
“For me the best teachers make learning fun. When I hear my daughter spontaneously sing the maths song to the tune of ice ice baby it really makes me smile and I know good things are happening in the classroom. I want our daughter’s teacher to keep us informed about her progress and where we can support and continue learning at home” Liz, mum of 2
“I want my children to enjoy school and to hopefully see that enjoyment when they come home. I like to be kept in the loop so that I can follow up at home” John, Dad of 3
“Academics are important, but so are the wider values and skills that my children are learning at school. I look for their school to support growth in social skills and to promote values of respect and tolerance” Julie, Mum of 2
So, there seems to be a lot of agreement about what parents want from their child’s school/teachers:
- Committed, happy and effective teaching staff
- A safe school environment
- Intellectual and emotional growth fostered by the school
- Strong home/school communication
- A fun and supportive school environment
- To be involved and ‘kept in the loop’
As a teacher and for the school as a whole, how do you meet these expectations? Clearly communication is key and it needs to be a two way street. Letting parents know what is happening in the classroom on an academic and pastoral level, as well as asking for their input, not only helps teachers to be more effective but has the added bonus of ensuring the parent feels involved and valued.
Alongside strong communication, the parents we spoke to really value a sense of positivity, support and enjoyment within the learning environment. So, make sure that you are celebrating success, let parents know about the amazing things you’re doing as a school and also about the fantastic achievements of their child, rather than just getting in touch about problems.
It’s not always easy to let parents know what they can be doing to help at home or to give them a snap shot of school life, but we’ve designed Parent Hub to do exactly that. It’s a FREE communications platform for teachers and other school staff to send regular updates to parents, giving them the information they require in an accessible format.
To find out more or to share your experiences with us get in touch on twitter @parenthub_uk or via email; firstname.lastname@example.org