Hybrid parents’ evenings a success with parents, says Ysgol Nantgwyn

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During Covid, we all had to learn to adapt and do things differently, and out of that came some change for the better. For Ysgol Nantgwyn, a school based in the heart of the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, parental engagement has always been key to their success - so when parents could no longer come into school, they had to get digital.

 “Before Covid, we didn’t really have an effective way of managing our parents’ evenings, with parents often forgetting when their appointments were and with office staff having to dedicate several days, if not weeks, to managing the whole process. Covid forced us to think of new ways to engage parents and improve our 50/60% turn up rate for parents’ evenings.”

Safeguarding through Covid

With parents unable to come into school to have face-to-face appointments, the school tried many strategies and ended up using an alternative video conferencing tool. Ryan Evans, Deputy Headteacher explained how this quickly got out of control; For the older students in particular, with parents needing to book multiple appointments with different teachers, this soon became an administrative nightmare for us, and we quickly realised we needed to invest in software that would take care of the administration burden for us.”

Simple, automated, stress-free booking

With Parents’ Evening Manager, once your evening is created on the system, the process is automated from start to finish. Ryan tells us, “There were a couple of features within Parents’ Evening Manager that really impressed us. One was that we could allow parents to leave notes when they booked their meeting time - this was something parents really loved and allowed us to make the most of their appointments. This could be something specific they wanted to discuss with a teacher, or it could be a note that they wanted to have a telephone call with a certain teacher ahead of their appointment, for example.”

“We really noticed a spike in engagement once using Parents’ Evening Manager, with more appointments booked than ever before.”

Putting control back into the hands of parents

After Covid, once parents were able to go back into school, Ysgol Nantgwyn felt determined not to lose the momentum they’d built with parental engagement. As a result, they decided to survey parents to get their feedback and give them a say in the future of parents’ evening appointments.

Ryan said, “We decided to ask parents what they would prefer, and the results were very interesting. Overall, 58% wanted to keep video appointments, which left 42% who wanted to go back to face-to-face appointments and have video appointments as a secondary option. What we found was, those with younger students wanted to come in and speak to the teacher, whereas those with older children, who were likely competing with work commitments, childcare issues and afterschool clubs, found the video appointments far easier. So, we decided hybrid appointments were the way to go, and we now let parents choose the appointment that works for them.

As a result, our last parents’ evening had 89% engagement – considerably higher than ever before - and we received such positive feedback from parents as they felt listened to and involved in the school’s decision-making. Even those parents who wouldn’t call themselves tech-savvy have bought into the system, and we’re more than happy to show them how it’s done via the mobile app if they do need any help."

"Hybrid parents’ evenings seem to be working really well for our parents, which means it’s working really well for us as a school.”

Download the full story from Ysgol Nantgwyn below, or find out more about Parents’ Evening Manager.