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Parents’ Evening

Involving parents in the education of their children is vital in ensuring that all of the pupils in your class are making progress in their behaviour and learning. It can be useful for developing partnerships with parents.

With good preparation parents’ evening does not need to bring any stress or anxieties but should be welcomed as an opportunity to share the children’s successes and identify targets for improvement.

If you plan carefully for a meeting with parents then this should have an impact on what happens in the classroom. Use the meetings with parents as a step in building positive relationships between school and home. It is a chance to celebrate a child’s achievements and plan the next steps forward with everyone involved in the child’s progress. With the support of parents you can ensure that each child is reaching their fullest potential within a supportive learning environment.

Pupil Targets
The key to a successful parents’ evening is preparation so that you can make sure that the strengths and weaknesses of the pupils are discussed and steps are selected for future progress. You should make some notes about each pupil which you can use as a guide when meeting their parents. Indicate in the notes some of the pupil’s strengths which can be shared with parents as well as indicating a target that the children should work towards achieving in the remaining school year. You need to share the targets with the pupil’s parents so that they can be developed both at home and in school. Ensure that you keep any targets smart so that they are easy to understand and attainable. It is best not to set a general target to read more but perhaps the target should be to read a new book every week or to try and read a variety of different types of texts such as fiction, poetry and non-fiction.

Classroom Preparation
It is also important to make sure that the classroom is tidy and the children’s work well-presented so that the parents have the best opportunity to review their child’s work in the past term. In the afternoon before parents’ evening, spend some time with the class tidying up the classroom including the children’s personal trays which can then be displayed on the desks ready for their parent’s inspections. Encourage the children to check back through any work to ensure that any mistakes have been corrected and that their work clearly shows their abilities in all subject areas. Build some displays outside of the classroom which the parents can view when waiting for their meeting to give everyone an opportunity of finding out what they child has been studying to make them an active partner in classroom learning.

Good and Bad Messages
It is important to be honest with parents to ensure that it is a productive meeting. If you have some negative feedback to report back to the parents then this can be balanced with a more positive comment to make it more palatable. For example, instead of saying that the pupil has poor listening skills you can state that sometimes the pupil is keen to share their ideas with the class but needs to develop their listening skills when others are talking. Provide the parents with some attainable targets that the children will need to achieve to overcome the negative messages.

Parents Partnerships
A meeting with parents is an excellent opportunity to develop positive relationships that can benefit the children’s learning. The children need to receive the same message from both parents and teachers to fulfill their learning potentials. It is advisable to agree a target for improvement that can be worked on in both the home and school environment. If you concentrate solely on aspects of school life then this could mean that the children treat home and school differently. It is important that their learning and progress develops inside and outside of school. Developing partnerships with parents can ensure that the child receives the same message to help them improve in a specific area.

Missing Parents
Sometimes there might be parents who are reluctant or unwilling to engage in their child’s learning. These are normally the parents you would desperately like to meet to discuss their child’s development. Take steps to provide these parents with other opportunities to meet with you. If the parents regularly collect their child from school then you can invite them into the classroom on a weekly basis for some quick chats about how their child is progressing with specific targets. You could also invite the parents to help out with other classroom activities such as school fayres or class trips. This will provide an excellent opportunity to discuss matters about their child in a less formal situation.

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