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Parents Evening - best way to prepare, tips, hints etc

Discussion in 'Primary' started by sarajj4176, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. I always start off by asking the parents of they have any questions/concerns before we get started. That way you can tailor the meeting around reassuring them or responding to their question if necessary. I also start and end with positive and raise any tricky issues in the middle.
    Good luck, you'll be fine!
  2. lillipad

    lillipad New commenter

    If you have tricky or bad news to give - give it in a good news sandwich. I.e - your child is making good progress in Literacy, however they are finding Numeracy a bit more of a struggle, this is what we're doing about it... and one of his other main strengths is Science because....
    Makes it easier!
  3. tiredandstressed!

    tiredandstressed! New commenter

    I find it useful to have my children's levels and also a piece of independent writing to ensure I have plenty to discuss. I used to get really nervous, but find it easier now. Remember the parents are often nervous too!
  4. I tend not to write massive lists of things to say, because often the conversation will go off task or end up talking about something else so you've wasted your time. Definitely ask them for their questions first and then take them through the core subjects or any special talents. Mainly parents just want to know that their child is happy, well behaved and trying their hardest. Good luck.
  5. clawthorpegirl

    clawthorpegirl New commenter

    I find it useful to have a class list with each childs current level and sublevels of progress since start of year, any interventions / extra support they have been part of and an extra column for anything urgent I definately want to talk about. When you are talking to your 23rd set of parents, with 5 more waiting it's a quick prompt and reminder to guide your conversation.
  6. lillipad

    lillipad New commenter

    This is how I generally do it (Does vary sometimes)
    (Delete parts as appropriate)
    Have you any concerns or questions? No ok I shall talk then (If they say yes, obv discuss those first.)

    Your child is at this level in Literacy / Numeracy: this is good / they haven't made as much progress as I would expect, this is what i'm doing to support them, you can do this this and this at home to help them with this.

    Are you regularly listening to your child read at home? Can you send in a PE kit please?

    Behaviour is fine / challenging at times, this is what we've done to address their behaviour and to support your child.

    Your child has lots of / a few friends in the class, we have set up a circle of friends to help your child to make new friends.

    This is their next target, thank you for coming byee!

    And that is pretty much my usual schpeil! I usually power through and keep it basic. Hope that helps!
  7. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    I will make sure I have on my table (one near the door for safeguarding in case a parent turns nasty, which hasn't happened but we're told to do this anyway) in front of me...
    1. a 10-minute timer, which I stick to. If more time is needed, we can agree a time for another day.
    2. a post-it note pad, so notes I make can be stuck in the relevant child's part of the class folder.
    3. mark book, which includes spellings/times tables results, homework/reading records etc.
    I always start talking first, keep it short and simple, then ask the parents if they want to add anything. If I ask first, there's a good chance they'll still be talking ten minutes later and I won't have said my piece.
    Nothing should come as too much of a surprise at parents' evening. If you are having behavioural issues or academic concerns, then the parents should be told when things arise. That way, parents' evening can be more about celebrating children's achievements. Doesn't always work that way, of course!
  8. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I waffle on for a bit about the things they're really interested in, such as whether their child is happy, behaving and making the progress they're capable of. I don't mention levels unless they specifically want to talk about them as most parents aren't interested, and they're largely irrelevant insofar as parents are concerned anyway.
    I'll flick through books and highlight areas for development, but don't mention these as being specific targets for the children to worry about as I also believe this to be nonsense.
    Most parents are only interested in whether their child is happy in school, is making a decent level of progress and isn't being a total pain in the ****. Anything else makes their eyes glaze over I find. I don't think it should be any other way.
  9. Mine goes pretty much the same way as everyone elses. It's only 5-10 minutes so no point in making long lists of things (which I did as an NQT and then never looked at as it all moves so fast).
    Have any IEPs to hand (we Parents evening to get them signed and discuss targets).
    I usually have a literacy book so that even if we get stuck for things to say I can compare the beginning of the year and now.
    If children come to parents evening with their parents (ours often do) have a colouring book and pens/ puzzle book etc to keep them occupied. There is nothing worse than trying to talk while kids run around the table and parents do nothing to stop them.
    Keep a bottle of water on the desk- my throat gets really dry from talking for so long.

    Hope it goes well
  10. eread1

    eread1 New commenter

    If they keep chatting (and most will!) stand up as you're talking, it's a nice prompt to end the meeting.

    Good luck... 14 years on I still worry and it's never as bad as I expect!
  11. My children are Y4 and I give them a questionnaire to complete during the week of parents evening with questions such as:
    How has Y4 been so far?
    Do you enjoy school?
    What are you proud of?
    Who are your friends?
    I also encourage them to look through their books and ask them to jot down their favourite topics and lessons etc. I do it again in time for reports and find it really useful. I've also done it with smiley faces for younger children but it took a lot longer as we had to talk at length about each question!
    It usually gives a load of positives and the parents enjoy seeing the long list of friends that their child has. However, with the extremely negative child in my class, I don't tend to share it with parents as it would just cause another argument along the lines of 'little Jonny still hates you and your class and you've ruined his life.' Oh well, can't please everyone!!
    I also have my notes and a list of results/levels and a piece of independent writing.
  12. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    First - agree time with mates to meet in pub. This is your target and you must meet your target.

    Have a list of kids' names and any points which you want to make already written down, e.g. "Timmy never has PE kit" or "Shaniah always smells of wee".
    Ask parents if they have anything they want to ask you, or any concerns over child's progress. Nod wisely as they witter.
    This should be enough to see you through at least 7 minutes.
    If conversation flags, just say the same thing to everyone, "Well, Adam/Kayleigh is exactly where I would expect them to be at this point in the year. If you want to spend longer looking through their work, you can do that with them now, outside the classroom......"
    If any conversations turn a bit iffy, sock it back to them with "Can you tell me how Hermione /Julian passes the time at home? What sort of books is she/he reading at the moment? Does she/he have any special interests outside school?" (They will fill the gap with talk of The Hobbit/Harry Potter/Chess/Tai Chi /Stargazing with Cubs. "That's great!")

    Clock on table. Word "Pub" stamped on hand. Stand up after 10 minutes, "Thank you so much for coming....."
    Stick to time. Go to pub.
  13. bed

    bed New commenter

    I always write some notes - but am prepared to go off on whatever tangent the parents take me.
    Check with SLT about giving levels - some schools don't.
    Have a clock or watch handy - I take my watch off and put it on the table - keep to time as much as possible.
    If you do go over, apologise to the parents waiting - assure them you'll try to catch up.
    Have a list of appointments outside the door - really big (A3).
    Standing up at the end of the time is a good one.
    Always thank them for coming even if they've been really hard work. Especially when they've been hard work!
    Make notes when they have stuff to say - and DO follow up any concerns they have as soon as poss and catch them on the playground or phone them up in the following week/s to tell them about what you've done.
    It won't be as hard as you think - you'll find you know more about the pupils than you think and that the parents are generally more respectful and supportive than you're expecting.
    Lots of them will say nice things - if they don't se it as a learning point and just another hard day!
    But I'm sure you'll be fine!1


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