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What have parents ever done for us?

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by psigrist, Jun 11, 2020.


Do you think parents will be more active in their children's education and are you ready?

Poll closed Jun 18, 2020.
  1. Yes, and we are prepared for more parental engagement

    1 vote(s)
  2. Yes, but we lack high level skills and experience

    0 vote(s)
  3. Yes, but we prefer to maintain our current approach

    1 vote(s)
  4. No, we don't think parents can play a bigger role

    1 vote(s)
  5. No, we think things will be back to normal by September

    6 vote(s)
  1. psigrist

    psigrist New commenter

    The circular arguments about school re-opening don't look likely to stop any time soon. Two of us, one a teacher, and me formerly the head of communications here at Tes, have decided to invest our time in developing some free training for SLTs or senior staff responsible for parents communication.

    We've posted some more details in the CPD forum but wanted to gauge interest here, among the leadership.

    Our insight is that parents are inevitably going to be playing more of a role in their children's education in the next few months/years. More than this: they could be a real boon if engaged sensibly. So our question is: what could schools be given by way of insight, skills, tools etc. that could get them on the front foot?

    We're trying to do something to help, for free, that would benefit schools and families alike. So please tell us what you think -- or go to the other post and follow the link to the workshop, if you're so inclined.

    The team at Just Add Parents: Pete Sigrist, formerly head of communications at Tes, and has worked in professional communications for 20 years; Simon Roundell, teacher, head of business at Wellington College and has experienced the full range of quality in parent engagement, from the expert to the dire.
  2. install

    install Star commenter

    Hello @psigrist

    Some of the survey answers are confusing tbh and a bit wordy.

    Why are there 3 possible ‘yes’ answers as opposed to 2 ‘no’ answers? It makes the survey biased imho.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2020
  3. psigrist

    psigrist New commenter

    Hi @install - you are right. This was really just to help us to get a flavour of where schools are on this issue, rather than being scientific. I take your point it's not balanced, but it seemed to cover broadly the bases we could think of. Unfortunately, I don't think it's possible to edit it now because we noticed there was no "other" option either, which we incorrectly assumed would be included by default. So - imperfect, for which I apologise. Still, it will help us work out whether this is an issue needing solved, which given we're putting our time into it for free, seems sensible! On the general question, about parents - do you think they'll be playing a bigger role after September?
  4. install

    install Star commenter

    That depends on the socioeconomic background. It also depends on the virus.

    If they could have played a bigger role they have had that opportunity already over the past 10 weeks during lockdown. So each school will be able to guage that in my view.

    The biggest barrier in my view will be the lack of a computer/no internet access in some households which might be used for on line packages/ support.
    psigrist likes this.
  5. psigrist

    psigrist New commenter

    Thank you. That's insightful. We are acutely aware of the inequity of the situation and that is one thing that's driving us. From the dozens or possibly hundreds of parents we have spoken to so far, it's clear that for many this is something they can take in their stride, even when they have younger children. But the data are alarming, with the numbers roughly similar whether you look at children without access to online resources or tech, and those who may have done no learning at all for 10 weeks.

    Our biggest question is whether or not schools or leaders will value the acquisition of new techniques to communicate and change parental behaviour at all; and if they do, whether it will be skewed towards schools with relatively high levels of the most vulnerable children represented, or in fact it will depend more on the culture of the existing SLT, head, governors. Suspect the latter, but we would love to think the real difference we might make would be to schools whose families risk being the most adversely affected by shut schools.

    Thanks again, I really appreciate your time,
  6. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    It also misses the point that many parents don't want to. For some parents it's not that they're bothered about they're kids missing education, it's that they're annoyed they have to look after them. I worked in a job that offered unemployed parents the chance to attend lots of courses that would help their children (and gain GCSEs themselves if they wanted). Some parents loved it and engaged; their children made excellent progress at school. Some parents were annoyed that others couldn't be bothered coming, and went to the pub or watched TV instead.
    Happyregardless and psigrist like this.
  7. psigrist

    psigrist New commenter

    I believe you @hhhh. We’ve been speaking to some heads and former heads about the range of motivations and attitudes among parents. The impression we take away is that people — parents and professionals alike - are prepared to accept generally good motivations. However, the challenge is not to focus on the extremes - that relatively small number of parents who are either highly motivated, positively engaged or totally demotivated. Does that sound fair?

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