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Are your school’s
parents up-to-date?
The active involvement of parents with their
child’s learning is the most important long-term
influence on academic success and behaviour,
but keeping them engaged can be a challenge.
In the first of a series of five articles, chief executive of Becta,
Stephen Crowne, explains their stance on how schools
can keep parents better informed through technology
ccording to ofsted, pupils’ this is down to several factors. First, parents struggle
achievement is improved in schools to talk to their children about school – 43 per cent find it
where parental involvement is either “difficult” or “very difficult” to extract information
judged to be outstanding. the from their child about their day at school. children tend
message is clear: schools which to shut their parents out of their school life – 44 per cent
keep parents up-to-date about their do not like sharing information with their parents. the
child’s learning and progress see an conflict of interest leads 37 per cent of children to feel
improvement in pupils’ performance. like they are being hassled for information, compounding
the government has recognised the role technology the problem as they shut down even further.
can play in facilitating this, which is why it has set But what also came through strongly in the
a target for all secondary schools to have online research was that parents feel they do not have enough
reporting by September 2010, and all primary schools information from the schools directly – 82 per cent say
by September 2012. they want schools to keep them better informed.
The challenges of the three-way dialogue Daily reporting
recent Becta research showed that the majority of traditionally, parents have been kept up-to-date on their
parents do not know as much about their child’s day at child’s achievements through written reports, face-to-
school as they would like. face parents’ evenings, and letters home. However, with
more and more families having access to the internet and clubs, the curriculum, and events such as the duke of
the different technologies that enable communication, Edinburgh Awards.
there are now more opportunities than ever for schools When used to complement face-to-face contact,
and teachers to communicate directly to parents, more online reporting can provide a more meaningful
efficiently and at regular intervals. dialogue for both parents and schools. Parents are still
online reporting can help bridge the communication able to participate in discussions about their child’s
gap, informing parents of homework, lesson plans, progress with the group tutor.
as well as giving secure access to reports, attendance From this example we can see the steps being
records, and grades. rather than a replacement for face- taken towards greater parental engagement through
to-face contact, we believe online reporting can enhance technology and online reporting. However, what may
this, offering parents access to the latest information on work for one school may not work for another, so it
their child’s progress in a convenient format. is important that schools think about the resources
this has obvious benefits – with better insight into they have and the needs of children and parents before
their child’s work and school day, parents are better entering in any decisions.
equipped to support their child and address any issues Becta is helping headteachers by sharing best practice
as they arise, having a positive, knock-on effect on and providing guidance tools, advice and support
parent-child communication. resources to help better communication and learning,
which can be found on our website. the site includes a
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Technology in action
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the communication with parents is Broadgreen toolkits for reporting to parents.
international School in Liverpool, which has in the When it comes to improving learning in and out
region of 1,200 pupils. the school has always prided of school, nothing is more important than effective
itself on community involvement and is committed to parental involvement, and technology can help make
engaging and empowering parents in their children’s this quicker, easier and more effective.
S p e c i a L S t U d e n t o f f e r
education through its carefully thought-out online By implementing effective technology solutions,
£ 2 6 . 0 0 t w o p i e c e t U x
reporting. schools can, and are, improving the synergy between
the system enables parents to keep up-to-date with school and home to ensure parents are better informed
their child’s progress more frequently than traditional and engaged in learning. the technology works on two
termly reports. it can provide details such as their levels, making learning more inspirational, engaging
child’s attendance record, punctuality, attainment, effort and powerful, while also enabling better engagement
Your local Moss Bros Hire store can visit your school for a free,
and behaviour. in addition, there is a personal comment and learning beyond the classroom. SecEd
by each child’s group tutor and the attainment leader
no fuss fitting service for your students.
will comment on overall progress. • Stephen Crowne is chief executive of Becta.
the reports are easily accessibly from a secure
Call 07774 965 587 or visit online connection and can be printed off in PdF format
Further information
to be discussed face-to-face at parents’ evenings. Schools can find out more about implementing new
the school also has an extended website where technologies to improve communications with parents
parents and visitors can access the latest school news by visiting and searching for parental
or the prospectus and information on after-school engagement.
MBH HSP ad.indd 1 27/03/2009 14:20:23
12 SecEd • May 21 2009
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