This week’s guest blog, by our expert contributors, Parent Mail, showcases how your school can make parents’ evening hassle free.
There’s no denying that parents’ evenings are one of the most difficult events for schools to organise and run each year – a headache for administration staff, teachers and parents alike. Arranging hundreds of meetings between parents and teachers is difficult enough, but ensuring children bring their forms to school and that parents remember to book in is an extra hassle that many schools have to deal with year-after-year.
For primary schools, the difficulty when organising parents’ evenings comes from trusting pupils to remember to take letters home, and reminding parents to send paperwork back into school to ensure that they have booked an appointment. School administration staff then have to manually go through these sheets and try to give parents the appointments they want.
For secondary schools, arranging thousands of appointments between parents and multiple teachers can be an administrative nightmare, and, often, pupils purposefully avoid arranging appointments with the teachers they don’t want their parents to see.
In a recent survey by Parent Mail, 65 percent of parents said their schools still send home letters with pupils to organise parents’ evening, and a further 20 percent said their schools allow pupils to arrange appointments with teachers without any involvement from parents. This survey, which canvassed over 1,200 parents, found that 90 percent said they would prefer to book parents’ evening appointments through an online automated service.
An online parents’ evening tool saves administrative staff time, simplifies appointment booking for parents and pupils, and gives teachers the information they need so they can prepare for meetings. By moving the process from paper to online, it’s quicker and easier for all involved to have the meetings they want, when they want, with no complications.
What’s more, because parents can book appointments from their smart phone, schools see a real improvement in the number of responses they get back from parents, and how quickly they start coming in. In fact, one school that moved to an online parents’ evening application saw 50 percent of parents book overnight.
Another useful feature of an online parents’ evening manager is that parents can add notes to teachers in advance of the meetings, so in the brief time available they can quickly get to talk about what’s important. Over 70 percent of parents felt a feature like this would improve parents’ evenings.
With regard to the evening itself, some other suggestions to teachers include: strict adherence to appointment times, keeping notes at hand for each child and organising these into the order of your appointments, making sure you utilise your reduced timetable to properly prepare in the days leading up to the evening, and drawing on the experiences of other teachers to help you to handle conflict and make a good impression on parents.
Good luck for your next parents’ evening!