From knowing what to ask at parents evening to keeping open lines of communication, Scoodle has got some top advice to ensure you parent teacher meeting goes as smoothly as possible.
It’s that time of year again, parents evening, the prospect of which can be daunting for all parties involved.
Yes, that’s students, parents and teachers included, believe it or not!
Of course, there is great value to be gained from these meetings but naturally, consultation evening can be a source of anxiety for school kids.
Cast your mind back to your own school years. Report cards being posted home, detailed numerical grading of your day to day performance all reaching a crescendo at the anxiety-inducing parents evening.
For parents, it's natural to only want to hear of your darling child's obvious perfection and their academic excellence but let's be realistic, everyone’s has room for improvement. It’s instinctive to be protective about your child when facing criticism but do remember that teachers have your child's best interests at heart!
Firstly, try to be understanding. The teacher providing honest feedback on your child's performance has, in all likelihood, been on school grounds since 8 am. They’ve worked a full day teaching classes of approximately 30 children at a time and only had an hours break. So you can imagine how they might be feeling.
Parents evening can present plenty of challenges - especially for NQTs - after all, it is their professional duty to highlight areas of concern.
Surveys suggest that the average parent consultation lasts a brief 13 minutes per subject teacher so it's vital then to make every minute count.
Before parents evening
Undoubtedly in this setting, a little preparation goes a long way. Try to know what you want to get out of the consultation.
- Speak with your child
Touch base with your child beforehand so you have an understanding of how they feel they’re doing. This ensures everyone’s on the same page and opens lines of communication so that if your child has any queries, you can raise them at the consultation.
2. Parents evening questions
This is not about bombarding teachers but rather building the teacher parent partnership so that your child can fulfil their potential, whilst feeling fully supported at school and home.
Not sure what to ask at parents evening? Below find a list of suggested parents evening questions:
- How is my child's participation level in class?
- Is there any extra reading that can be done?
- What are my child's strengths?
- What areas need improving?
- Are there any areas of specific concern?
- What is the quality of my child's homework like?
- Is my child prepared for any upcoming examinations?
- What is the school doing to support my child's needs?
- Does my child have all the resources necessary?
- How can I help my child revise?
This list is certainly not exhaustive but gives you an idea of the kind of discussions you could be having with teachers.
Where possible, both parents/ guardians should aim to attend parents evening as this demonstrates to both your child and the teacher that you are as involved as possible in their education.
Next up comes the trickier conversation about whether or not your child will also be in attendance. This can be slightly controversial and there are definitely pros and cons to both options.
On one hand, bringing your child along could encourage them take more responsibility for their education. Alternatively, some say it can impede your ability to have an honest conversation with your child’s teacher.
Try being open-minded and discuss the options with your child beforehand. Ultimately only you know best, so come to a joint decision that suits everyone involved.
During parents evening
- Actively listen
Be sure to actively listen, asking the right questions and if they’re present, involve your child in any conversation to keep them engaged. Aim to understand the teacher's point of view and were applicable, hash out the next steps in achieving joint goals.
2. Keep the focus on your child
Keep in mind that these appointments are brief. Avoid wasting time discussing school policies and such. Rather, keep the meeting centred around your child, their progress and any blockers. It’s a good idea to keep teachers in the loop about any major changes in your child's home life too in case anything might be affecting their performance e.g. a new baby in the family, divorce, moving house.
After parents evening
- Be proactive
If your child’s teacher has raised any areas of concern you might wish to consider help outside of the classroom. Whether that's in the form of attending an after school club or private tuition, there can be great benefits to offering your child extra help.
If any concerns rear their head at parents evening, rest assured that Scoodle’s got your back! Our tutors are top class and are poised with the ability and gusto to see your child's grades improve in no time at all! Whether they’re at A-Level, GCSE or preparing for 11+ Entrance exams the sooner any tricky areas are tackled the better so browse our fantastic educators now.
2. Discuss feedback with your child
Following the parents evening, it's important to discuss your thoughts with your child. Be sure to focus on the positives and ensure they know how proud of them you are. Regarding any areas for improvement, ensure this is sensitively handled and framed in a constructive light. Moreover, if your child has asked you to raise something at parents evening then make sure you let them know the teacher's response.
Overall, parents evening doesn’t need to be a stressful ordeal for anyone. A combination of asking the right parents evening questions, along with nurturing channels of communication between teachers and parents will have your child fulfilling their potential in no time at all.