The new ‘face-to-face': how to run your first remote parents’ evening
This year, parents’ evening takes on a new importance. The autumn term event is usually the first opportunity for families to meet new teachers; following extended closures, this year parents will be extra keen to catch up with staff about their child’s progression.
We recently surveyed over 400 schools to investigate the impact of lockdown. At the time of our survey, over 40% of schools were unsure how they would facilitate parents’ evenings and 16% had cancelled the event until further notice.
We know parents’ evenings can be a tiresome task. This year, however, you have the opportunity to set a new standard for parent-teacher meetings, where every parent is engaged and no one misses out; here’s how.
Engaging with hard-to-reach parents
Traditional face-to-face meetings, for many families, are a source of tension. Balancing busy schedules and childcare can result in many failing to attend; for separated families, meetings can prove awkward or difficult, particularly for the student in question.
Delivered remotely, however, and these issues are put to bed. Parents don’t need to book childcare, arrange travel or even engage with other families. For those most at-risk, too, video calls are an ideal alternative to traditional face-to-face meetings.
Structured timetables and no waiting around
One bugbear shared by most parents is waiting around between meetings; sometimes, appointments overrun, parents fail to show, arrive late and still expect to be seen.
All in all, it can be a chaotic evening. Remote meetings run on time and within a set duration. And, of course, there’s no room for interruptions (other than the occasional delivery or dog barking).
Room to speak openly and honestly
Many schools hold their event in a central location, such as the school hall. Appointments are carried out in the open, surrounded by parents, students and other staff; it’s noisy and can feel a little intimidating for all involved.
With meetings conducted remotely, everyone can relax and talk freely. Teachers are free to spread out their resources and conversation can flow naturally, without fear of being overheard. No distractions and an engaged audience create an environment in which all parties can talk openly and honestly, resulting in truly productive meetings.
Bringing parents’ evening into the 21st century
According to our survey, over 20% of schools are planning online meetings from September, with many realising the benefits of online booking platforms for eradicating paper-based communications and processes.
Parents’ Evening Manager could make planning your next parents’ evening quick and easy. The platform caters for online appointment bookings and syncs with school MIS, enabling staff to send paperless invitations to classes, year groups and individual families.
Parents utilise our free mobile app or desktop portal to book appointments; school staff manage teacher timetables online, controlling appointment durations and cancellations with ease. For parents yet to respond or book appointments, the system automates reminder messages, saving time for busy teams.