Using your parent communication solution to build community 

School communication software certainly makes managing parent engagement easier. But it can be so much more than just an app for teachers to communicate with parents and vice versa. 

The secret is to use your parent communication solution to encourage parents and carers to feel like part of the school team – by building communication, teamwork and understanding. 

Community is built on communication, understanding and teamwork; it’s not easy to achieve, but the payoff can be huge. 

a parent using school communication software

How does building community with parents and carers help schools and trusts? 

Parents and carers who are in a community with their child’s school or trust are more likely to be involved in school life, such as contributing to the PTA. 

By building a community, you can also improve how parents/carers respond during tough times, meaning a greater understanding of issues like:  

  • A disappointing Ofsted result
  • High staff turnover 
  • Disruptions to school dates

How to use your parent communication app to build community with families 

Your school messaging system isn’t just an app for parents to communicate with teachers – it can be so much more. 

Here’s how you can use your school communication app to build community with parents and carers. 

  • Use your parent communication app strategically

    While you need to share information to build community, too much communication can be counter-productive. 

    Like any person living in the modern world, parents and carers receive a huge amount of information each and every day. Even a piece of good news might feel overwhelming if it’s the third email from the school that fortnight. 

    To keep your communication concise, you can try: 

    • Sharing positive news or updates via a monthly newsletter 
    • Coordinating the majority of communication via a school messaging system app 
    • Using texts and emails sparingly to avoid message fatigue. 
  • Where possible, keep parent communication short and sweet

    From reassuring families, to communicating difficult messages to trying to avoid misinterpretation, it can be tempting for school staff to “get it all out there” when communicating with parents/carers.   

    However, longer messages can have significant drawbacks, like being: 

    • Difficult to quickly digest (and, therefore, forgotten) 
    • Intimidating for parents/carers who aren’t strong readers 
    • Too similar to longer-form “crisis comms”. 

    To help staff stay concise, you can create templates for common messages in your school’s communication portal. By keeping things simple, you’re more likely to engage parents and carers, helping you build greater community. 

  • Encourage “self-service” style communication

    Part of building community is giving everyone the power to communicate on their own terms.  

    Communicating exclusively via a parent communication app (rather than a mix of text and email) means families can “self-serve” and engage with school messaging when it’s convenient. This also means: 

    • Notifications are easier to manage (unlike emails or texts, which can get buried) 
    • Messages are centralised and easier to keep track of 
    • Attachments and important documents are kept in one secure location. 
  • Head off parent frustration with proactive communication

    Proactive communication can help build community by equipping parents and carers with what they need, even before they need it. 

    Use your parent communication portal to share useful messages ahead of time, to give parents/carers the chance to absorb and respond. You could share information like: 

    • Behavioural policies 
    • How parents/carers can get involved (e.g. PTA) 
    • Curriculum changes (and how families can support)  
    • Upcoming SEN assessments 
    • Leadership/staff changes. 

    Proactive communication can help families feel more involved and in control.  

  • Bring parents and carers on board before day one

    Don’t wait until a child’s first day of school to start building a community with parents and carers. 

    Whether it’s hundreds of 11-year-olds ready to start secondary school or a single new student, start communicating with parents and carers as soon as they’re on the parent communication portal.

    Using your school or trust’s MIS, you could share information on: 

    • Class timetables 
    • Grading and examination policy 
    • Extra-curricular activities 
    • Teachers and school/trust leadership 
    • SEN and additional support available
    • Accessibility measures. 

    This approach means parents/carers feel valued and, hopefully, better equipped to support their child in starting a new school. 

     

Unlock the potential of your parent communication app guide thumbnail image

Featured Guide

Unlock the potential of your parent communication app 

Discover the true power of your school communication app and help your school or trust achieve straight-A’s in parent engagement.

Download the free guide to building community with your parent communication portal and read about: 

  • Empowering parents and carers to “self-serve” 
  • When and how to keep families in the loop 
  • Game-changing engagement solutions 
  • Software recommendations from edtech specialists. 

Is your parent communication portal working together with your school MIS? 

To get the most out of your parent communication platform, you need a flexible, hard-working Management Information System (MIS) working in sync with it. 

IRIS Ed:gen is a cloud-based MIS designed to streamline school and trust management, working in perfect harmony with software like: 

  • IRIS ParentMail, the fully customisable cloud-based solution for primary schools 
  • IRIS Reach, the ultimate engagement solution for secondary schools and MATs 
  • Ed:gen’s own integrated parental engagement solution. 

Unlock the true potential of your parent communication portal with a best-in-class school MIS. 

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IRIS Education 1 | School Communication Software

Software products

  • IRIS Parentmail logo

    IRIS ParentMail

    A flexible, all-in-one system for parent engagement in schools; bridging the gap between school and home. Offering a range of cloud-based features that integrate with your school MIS and streamline parent/teacher communication.

  • IRIS Reach

    IRIS Reach

    Make parent communication easier, less expensive, faster and more effective by managing everything in one place; from email to SMS and social media. Automatic translation into over 40 languages, bespoke forms and real-time reporting.

  • IRIS Absence Call

    IRIS Absence Call

    Software that automates first-point-of-contact via phone, text or email in case of unexpected absences. Free-up your time, reduce unauthorised absences and improve punctuality in your school.

  • IRIS Education blue white 1 | School Communication Software

    Online Form Collection

    A paper-free, reliable parent engagement platform to improve quality of responses to school communications. Inbuilt templates, reminders, notifications and reports to save time and improve parent response rates.

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