Are online parents’ evenings set to be the norm from September?

Rectangle | Are online parents' evenings set to be the norm from September?
By Lucy Newman | 30th July 2021 | 2 min read

Education tsar says ‘yes’ to online parents’ evenings

Video calls have become an everyday part of life since the pandemic began, but will they have a permanent role in parents’ evenings, perhaps replacing face-to-face altogether?

Yes. According to the government's education catch-up tsar they will. And they should.

Parents’ evenings have traditionally been a bunfight. Not least in the car park.

Education chief gives thumbs up

Sir Kevan Collins told the Lord’s Youth Unemployment Committee recently that video calls were a “better way” to conduct the evenings.

"The way that schools do parents’ evenings I don’t think will ever be the same again,” he said.

Support also comes from Daniel Locke-Wheaton, Principal at Aston University Engineering Academy, who recently wrote in this article:

“When you reflect on the parents’ evening in its traditional form, it no longer makes any sense. It is really not a natural situation for any parent to have to rush home from work, struggle through traffic and fight for a parking place, only to sit in a classroom or hall for a very rushed meeting which can sometimes be overheard by families sat at nearby tables.”

What are the benefits of moving parents’ evening online?

  • Less rushing to get home from work in time to get to school
  • Easier, less hassle and more convenient
  • Better attendance rates
  • Increased parent engagement
  • Avoids the traditional scrap for car parking spaces
  • Parents escape the usual cramped corridors
  • Teachers can also have the conversations from the comfort of their homes and save time travelling
  • More members of the family can attend
  • Creating a different, less formal connection through that school-home link
  • Keeping matters on record in the case of safeguarding or pastoral issues being discussed

What do professional teaching bodies say?

The National Association of Head Teachers has indicated support for the idea too.

“We know [virtual meetings] have often made it easier for parents to attend appointments and have also made it easier for schools to manage the logistics,” general secretary Paul Whiteman said.

He did add, however, that sometimes conversations between teachers and parents may be better face-to-face, while online may not be feasible for everyone.

How can your parent-teacher software help?

Watch out for news about a new solution from IRIS ParentMail that will help teachers and parents to hold productive, efficient online parents' evenings. Coming in Autumn.

Further resources

Discover how Culcheth High School used technology to drive positive change throughout the pandemic, the full case study is available to read here.

Get in touch with Lucy via Linkedin here.