Winston Poyton, education, charities & commercial product director at IRIS Software Group discusses the best way for schools to engage parents of children with SEN.
Fear of the unknown can make points in the education journey such as a new teacher or starting a new school an anxious time for pupils with SEN and their parents.
At these times, a school’s natural response is to provide parents with plenty of information so they can help their children adjust to the new environment.
In these ‘technologically rich’ days, parental communication can happen at the click of a button. This means that schools can often be competing with a plethora of other social media and marketing messages to get important, specific information through to families.
When working with children and young people who have special needs, how can you establish clear communication lines and ensure parents get the information they need to support their children through each stage of their education?
Back to basics
Flooding parents with information can lead to confusion and disengagement. Pare it down too much and you risk the same outcome.
Pupils with SEN tend to be more settled in school and make more progress when their families are informed and engaged.
At the start of the academic year, for example, Year 7 parents want to know how to pay for school trips or who will help their child choose a healthy meal at lunch time. Assessment dates might not be important to them just yet so make sure your communications are targeted.
Keeping communications relevant helps ensure parents remain connected and able to help the school meet their child’s needs.
Reduce your communication channels
It’s not just a matter of getting the right information to parents at the right time.
In a survey conducted by IRIS Education, 62% of schools believed using two or more systems to communicate with parents can lead to reduced communication effectiveness. And yet, 45% admitted to operating more than one.
Mobile devices offer a great opportunity for schools to put communication into parents’ hands. By simplifying your systems, parents can manage all school information in one convenient place and can check on school messages as easily as they can keep up to date with what’s happening with their friends on Facebook.
Implementing the right communication processes establishes and strengthens the important home school links. Whether you want to help a child adjust to a new learning environment or encourage a little extra help outside of school, informed and engaged parents are critical to success.
To find out more about improving home/school communications, please visit https://www.iris.co.uk/suite/parentmail/