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Building positive two way relationships with parent carers

How to support the development of a consistent home school approach?

How to keep good communications ‘open door’ policy in place for parent carers.

Things to consider:

  • Develop a parent carer charter to help parent carers understand the role they have to play in their child’s education – it’s a joint home / school responsibility.
  • Organise a ‘6 week in’ session for parent carers, six weeks after children return to school to understand what’s working well, what could be better. You may want to repeat this in the spring and summer term for parent carers of children and young people with SEND.
  • Include a parent carer action on the Assess, Plan, Do, Review form.
  • Structured conversations training can be useful for staff who are working with parent carers to try and encourage solution focused conversations.
  • Organise parent carer coffee mornings with themed input. These could include ‘guest speakers’ to talk on holistic topics such as creating routines, developing independence skills and emotional regulation. Create an informal feel where the kettle is on and cake is available. Parent carers asked to suggest topics ahead of the meeting so ‘guest speakers’ can be invited and encourage ownership.
  • A popular topic for parent carers could be ‘How to share diagnosis with children’ e.g. recommended book ‘Amazing things happen’.
  • Invite community support groups to parent carer sessions. Examples of external agencies for families could include
  • Reaching families
  • West Sussex Parent Carer Forum
  • The Local Offer
  • Aspens
  • Consider how the school seeks parent carers’ views, how these are used and report back. Parent carers need to be confident that their views will be listened to and acted upon.  
  • Many schools say they have an ‘open-door’ policy for parent carers. How is the success of this ‘open door’ policy determined?
  • Consider the use of survey tools such as Survey Monkey to gain views from parent carers. It is helpful to use specific questions for richer detail. E.g. How do you currently seek information if you have a concern about your child? Consider the literacy level of parent carer with written questionnaire, consider use of video / audio files for question asking and responses.
  • Use surveys and activities to gain views of the child e.g. Lego classroom – summaries are useful to share with parent carers.
  • Hold a zoom coffee morning – encourage some parent carers to facilitate the breakout room (given topics of conversation).
  • Be aware that some parent carers may have their own literacy needs and therefore less able to access written communications. School communications could be shared by audio files or short videos. Parent carers could also be given the option of sending in audio files to school re pupil updates.
  • Co-produce policies and plans with parent carers. It can be helpful to begin with a ‘blank sheet’ and in an initial meeting share with parent carers what policy needs to be about and what it has to cover etc. Parent carers to provide ideas via post-it notes etc. Post-meeting, write a draft and then share at next parent carer meeting for feedback.

Last updated 18 March 2024

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