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School parents' evenings

publication date: Oct 13, 2010
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author/source: Anne Coates
parents' eveningParents' evenings are one of the best ways teachers can communicate with the parents of their pupils but so often both teachers and parents come away from them feeling dissatisfied. Misunderstandings can happen if you are unfamiliar with the school or the syllabus and, let's face it, some parents still feel slightly intimidated facing a school teacher!

According to a survey of 2000 parents of primary school aged children last year, 55 per cent of parents felt parents' evening did not really tell them how their child was progressing.

On the other hand, teachers are under an enormous time constraint and often feel inhibited or reluctant about giving bad news about a child's progress or behaviour in class. Some parents react inappropriately or aggressively.

Top ten tips to get the most from a parents' evening:
  1. Think about the information you would like from the teacher.
  2. Take time to look through any workbooks/projects your child has been working on.
  3. Prepare some questions you'd like answered in advance.
  4. Arrive on time for your appointment.
  5. If the teacher's answer doesn't satisfy you, ask again in a different way.
  6. If the teacher doesn't know the answer ask her to contact you later by letter or email.
  7. Ask what you can do at home to help.
  8. If you have any concerns about his behaviour at home, ask what he is like in class. Often children behave very differently.
  9. If you feel any issues you have are not being addressed, put them in writing afterwards and send a copy to the head of year/department or head teacher.
  10. Remember communication is two-way – always let the school know if there are problems at home that may affect your child's work.