Building parent relationships

During my first week in class, I sent home a letter to parents telling them a little about myself and included a certificate praising each pupil for the good start they had made to the term.

Share expectations with parents

My letter to parents also outlined intended projects, homework expectations and other practical information. The reaction from parents and pupils was very positive.

Contact parents with good news not just with bad

Contacting parents to celebrate and share successes makes it a lot easier when you have to get in touch to sort out more difficult issues. Notes home, certificates, stickers, phone calls, sending good work home - all of these are useful tools.

Don't wait until parents' evenings to raise issues

There should be no real surprises at parents' evenings. Get in touch as soon as issues arise to discuss early solutions.

Never deal with an angry parent on your own

Little will be achieved by trying to reason with parents when they are upset. Suggesting that they arrange an appointment in the morning with the head teacher to discuss the issue is one way of getting them time to calm down and reflect on the situation.

Involve parents in the classroom

Find out what skills parents have that could be used in the classroom, such as art and craft, musical talents, talks and demonstrations. Asking for help with projects is one way of tapping into the skills parents may have and teachers may lack! 

Encourage future parent involvement

Try to get parents to become involved at a variety of levels: school trips, open days, homework tasks, sports days, project work, supplying resources, etc.

Melinda Ruskell