Do You Want To Be More Involved In Your Child's School Life?

06/10/2017 12:09

Whether a child has just started school or in their final year, most parents want to know how they can best support their children's education and play their part in the school community.

But it's not always easy to get the balance right when you are juggling work and other commitments.

Here are three top tips from the schools I visit on how parents can provide the help their children need to get the most from their learning, both inside and outside the classroom.

1. Don't wait until there's an issue
Schools have many different experiences when it comes to their contact with parents. There are those parents who will frequently pick up the phone or come in to school to talk about their child's progress in maths or ask questions about how they can best support them if they've clinched a place on the school hockey or debating team.

However, there are some parents who are reluctant to contact their child's school unless they have a specific concern, holding the view that they should 'leave the school to do its job'.

The vast majority of heads I come into contact with have an open door policy for parents. So, think about what you can do, working with the school, to support your child's learning from home and help ensure they continue to make good progress.

2. Cast fears aside about your ability to help
Are you a parent who is keen to play a part in boosting your child's progress, but you do not feel confident about your current knowledge and understanding of the curriculum? Well, you are not alone.

Most schools will be only too happy to take the time to ensure parents have the information they need to make a difference. It is worth asking your child's school for details of the topics the class is currently working on and seek advice from teachers on the key learning objectives and how you can best help.

A wealth of guidance is also made available on helping your child to choose their GCSE subjects - something that many families will be thinking about in the coming weeks and months.

Whether you need a few top tips on effective ways to help your child research a history project, learn their lines for a performance in assembly or train for a school run, the school can usually point you in the right direction.

3. Stay up to date

As any parent knows, keeping up with day-to-day school life has its challenges. It can be difficult to get meaningful information out of your children about how they are doing in school - they always seem to be watching something important on television, on their phone or off out with friends.

Many families lead busy lives and it can sometimes be difficult to stay up to date. Most schools address this by offering a range of channels of communication to keep you in the loop.

Most schools give parents online access to real-time information on their website. Some will 'push' information to parents via text or email and others allow information to be viewed straight from a mobile phone, via an app.

You could see your child's most recent test scores or teachers' comments too. Imagine being able to congratulate them for getting top marks in the geography quiz as they walk through the door, or start a conversation about a fall out with a friend as soon as they get home. This can be a really powerful way to support them, both inside and outside school.

So, find out what's on offer at your child's school. You might be able to log onto the school website to see what homework has been set for your child, find out what they had for lunch, or check if an assignment has been handed in late, for example.

In one school I visited, parents were kept so up to date with how their children were doing via various online tools that the head was able to turn the traditional parents' evening into an informal wine and cheese night. Instead of rushing around to see every teacher, parents spent time relaxing and getting to know their child's teachers - and each other - in a much more social setting.

The vital home-school link
As parents, we are in a much stronger position to offer help to our children throughout the school years when we know what's going on.

If your child's school could be communicating more effectively with parents, why not point them towards www.capita-independent.co.uk/parentpower.

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