Involving parents - Communication between schools and parents of school-aged children

Summary

This report is written in response to a request for advice from the Welsh Government in the Cabinet Secretary’s annual remit letter to Estyn for 2017-2018. The report is a short study in which we
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This report is written in response to a request for advice from the Welsh Government in the Cabinet Secretary’s annual remit letter to Estyn for 2017-2018.

The report is a short study in which we review how effectively schools communicate and engage with parents of school-aged children and explore parents’ views of the approaches taken by schools. The findings are based on a combination of interviews with school leaders by telephone and during inspection, an online questionnaire and focus group interviews with parents, and information from inspections during the last
cycle (2010 to 2017). In this report, the term ‘parent’ is used to include parents, carers and guardians.

The report is intended for the Welsh Government, headteachers and staff in schools, local authorities and regional consortia. It may be of interest to schools looking to review the way that they communicate and engage with parents to remove barriers to education.

Recommendations

Schools should:
R1 Consult with parents about their communication and engagement needs and review their approaches accordingly to enhance two-way communication

R2 Improve their channels of communication in order to engage with all parents and guardians, in particular fathers

R3 Ensure that reports and parents’ evenings focus on a child’s specific strengths and areas for development

R4 Make clear how staff and parent governors can be contacted, and implement helpful and clear processes for dealing with parental communication

R5 Consult on and put in place protocols for parents, pupils and staff on the use of digital communication channels, including social media

R6 Seek ways to ensure that they take good account of the views of the full range of parents that make up the socio-economic mix of the school in self-evaluation and other consultation exercises

R7 Evaluate parental communication and engagement approaches for the purpose of improvement planning, to ensure that they have an impact on pupils’ standards

Local authorities should:
R8 Provide support for schools to develop their parental engagement strategies, including the safe and effective use of electronic communication channels, particularly social media

The Welsh Government should:
R9 Give further guidance to schools on how to ensure that governors represent and engage with all parents effectively