The majority of parents with secondary school aged children would welcome the chance to become more involved when it comes to the next step in their child’s education.
As parents are only too aware, children who have started secondary school are encouraged to become more independent and this tends to lead to them being less forthcoming when it comes to their daily school life. This does not bode well when it comes to passing on important information or keeping their parents in the loop.
But where does that leave parents? Especially those who feel that their child’s secondary school education is of great importance and they should be more, and not less, involved. Should they be given the choice to get involved and why is increasing parental involvement so important for both schools and parents?
If schools wish to promote and encourage a better relationship with parents then they will need to invite parents to become part of the school system. This can ease the problems teachers face with regards to the current curriculum and teaching approach. Issues can be easily spotted and rectified and solutions can be discussed at convenient times and not at snatched moments between classes.
Parents could be called upon to help with projects, performances and open days allowing them to feel an important part of the school.
There are also a number of long-term solutions that could be facilitated without disrupting pupils, teachers and the intricate planning that is involved with school timetables. The internet has become a great communication tool and one that schools should take advantage of by ensuring that information for parents is available online or emailed via a newsletter direct to the parents. Introducing a Take Your Parent to School Week can be run alongside other events or study weeks and could mean disruption is kept to a minimum.
Having Parent Ambassadors or a Parent Drop-in Clinic would be another option for parents to become more involved and does not need to include pupils. Parents would be able to bring their concerns to light within these convenient timeframes and would ease the pressure that reception staff face when parents just turn up and demand to see the head teacher.
However, there will always be challenges that need to be overcome and allowing parents to become more involved within the school environment is no different. Some pupils may not wish their parents to be a regular presence and this could cause ill feeling between all those involved.
This ill feeling may also be felt between parents who do not have the same amount of time to devote as others and could lead to disruption between both parents and pupils. Involving parents can also put added pressure on already stretched head teachers as they will need to be on hand to work through issues, arrange appropriate times/days for parental involvement and ease concerns from teachers.
Increasing parental involvement is a step in the right direction that schools need to be seriously considering. There is a lot of bad press surrounding the approach teachers take to teaching, the way in which the ever increasing problem of bullying is dealt with and the lack of communication between schools and parents.
To help turn that situation around parents should be encouraged to get involved and schools should welcome them with open arms.
How do you encourage parental involvement in your school? Let us know in the comments below!