Making your Form a great place by @mrsduffyenglish

Name: Sam Duffy
Twitter name: @mrsduffyenglish
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): English
Position: Teacher
What is your advice about? Making your Form a great place

  1. Try and find at least one thing about each pupil that is non school related. Pupils want to feel like you care and want to know them as individuals.
  2. A positive note on a post it once a term, individual to that pupil goes a long way in making pupils feel valued.
  3. Notice the small details. A compliment on a new hair cut can really make a pupil’s day.
  4. If you feel comfortable with it, share what you find interesting. This is a great opportunity to expose pupils to a world outside the curriculum, if you are passionate this spreads.
  5. Build a team spirit, encourage pupils to support each other, get involved and most importantly smile every Form time (even if it is the last Monday of the half term).

Parents’ Evenings by @fizzixteach

Name: Steve
Twitter name: @fizzixteach
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): Physics
Position: Head of Physics
What is your advice about? Parents’ Evenings

  1. Plan ahead: give yourself as easy a day as possible on the day and the day after. Arrange a test, or computer lesson, or whatever is reasonable but lightens your load.
  2. If at all possible, get off site between the end of the school day and the start of the evening. Even for 5 minutes.
  3. Have a folder of data, targets, test scores etc with you to refer to. Even better if they’re coloured in!
  4. Showing off the child’s work to the parent – for good or bad reasons – seems to have a very strong effect. Maybe have the class’s books on hand?
  5. When you can’t remember a child’s name, greet the parent(s) with “Hi, it’s Mr and Mrs…. oh, I’m really, sorry, I’ve not learned all the surnames yet”. When they tell you, your class list will fill in the first name for you.

Ringing Parents by @statepapers71

Name: Steve Garnett
Twitter name: @statepapers71
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): History
Position: Teacher
What is your advice about? Ringing Parents

  1. As soon as possible, ring the parents of identified students to say good things.
  2. And, when those students mess up, you already have a relationship so ring parents to say bad things.
  3. Let the parent talk. Never interrupt even if you do not agree.
  4. Be professional. When the moment is right, back yourself and say what you need to say.
  5. If you need to, after a difficult conversation, refer to leadership. But, never be afraid of the conflict that may arise from you being professional.

Communicating with parents by @McGillycuddy101

Name: Kathleen McGillycuddy
Twitter name: @McGillycuddy101
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): English
Position: Assistant Headteacher
What is your advice about? Communicating with parents

  1. Talk to parents – most parents respond well to communications and just want their child to do well. Don’t be afraid!
  2. Show you are concerned about their child and really want them to be happy/progress – don’t nag the parent or tell them off even if you are feeling frustrated.
  3. Stick to your promises – if you have said you will call them, send work home or talk to someone then do it. You may have 100s of students but they only have their child.
  4. Don’t be drawn into any arguments – if a parent is really unhappy refer them to your team leader or SLT.
  5. You are the ambassador of your school for that parent – they listen to everything you say and take it seriously. Before any communication plan what you will say.

Contacting Parents by @sara_lou_loves

Name: SaraLouise
Twitter:  @sara_lou_loves
Sector:  Secondary
Subject: English
Position: 2ic/KS4 Coordinator
5 Bits of Advice About: Contacting parents

  1. Positive contact home is important and can build relationships. Always try to open and close a conversation with positives-it shows you care.
  2. Double check parent details for correct names and surnames as well as child protection issues- some parents must/must not receive the contact. Be sure before you call.
  3. Golden rule: start with a positive, explain the issue, explain the impact of the issue, explain what you have done already, tell them what you intend to do, end with a positive.
  4. Have specific data and facts ready before you call. Vague comments aren’t helpful. Most parents cannot and will not argue with specific data/ numbers.
  5. Remember, we may teach over 200 students a week but to the parent you are on the phone to, only their child matters. As a parent, you will understand that too.

Dealing with difficult parent phone calls by @molin_bryan

Name: Bryan Molin
Twitter:  @molin_bryan
Sector:  Secondary
Subject: Maths
Position: Assistant Headteacher
5 Bits of Advice About: Dealing with difficult parent phone calls

  1. Eat that frog. If you know it’s going to be difficult the sooner it’s done the better.
  2. Have a plan about what to say and go through it with a trusted leader.
  3. Keep calm, polite and assertive. Listen more than you speak.
  4. Keep the conversation factual and focus on discussing behaviours not the person.
  5. If you are being shouted at or offended, calmly tell the parent you will need to refer the matter upwards and end the call politely. Don’t tolerate abuse.

Parents and Carers by @Top_kat1

Name: Kate
Twitter name: @Top_kat1
Sector: Primary
Subject taught (if applicable):
Position: SLE / Teaching School
What is your advice about? Parents and Carers

1: Greet and meet them as often as you can; before and after school. Build your relationship as it supports your knowledge of their child. Win:win!

2: Be honest with them. Don’t wait to discuss an issue. Raise anything as soon as possible. Face to face if you can.

3: Prepare for parents evening. What progress? What next? How to help at home (pack of bits really supports this) and how they are socially. The whole child.

4: Parents evening #2: schedule longer conversations for a different night. A long queue of missed times will not make for happy meetings.

5: Accentuate the positive- try to ring some parents weekly just to flag up GREAT days/attitudes. Sending work home with a note also works well.

Parents’ Evenings by @StuartLock

Name: Stuart Lock
Twitter name: @StuartLock
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): Maths
Position: Headteacher
What is your advice about? Parents’ Evenings

1: Ensure you book in all your pupils’ appointments early. Phone the most likely not to show.

2: Know each parent’s surname to greet them, note it next to the pupil – this starts the meeting professionally. Ensure you know pupils names (see point 1).

3: Take class books to show if you get an argument from a child or parent. Also sit close to head of dept or mentor.

4: No interview should take more than 5 minutes, most 2 or 3. Parents want to know: behaviour, work ethic, progress. If you carry on you’ll repeat yourself.

5: Be honest, brutally if necessary. Parents must hear it as it is, without sugar coating or superfluous words.

Phone Calls to Parents by @perkins254

Name: Michelle Perkins
Twitter name: @perkins254
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): English
Position: classroom teacher
What is your advice about? Phone calls to parents regarding behaviour

1: Always start your conversation in a positive way – even if it really hurts!
E.g. ‘Xxxx is usually quite cooperative/focused/attentive, however…’

2: Link your concern to progress: a parent will never argue that they don’t want their child to do well.

3: Never compare the child you are talking about to another in the class: ‘if Xxxx behaved more like Xxxx…’ Remember parents talk to each other!

4: If a parent suggests that their child is mimicking another, tell the parent that you are trying to encourage their child to think for themselves!

5: Always end on a positive, with an offer to follow up in 2/3 weeks. This shows commitment to child’s progress and parents will respond positively.

Working With Parents by @headteacher01

Name: Glyn Bishop
Twitter name: @headteacher01
Sector: Primary
Subject taught (if applicable): All subjects
Position: Headteacher
What is your advice about? Working with parents

1: Welcome parents into your classroom. You need to engage with them so easier to get them to come to you.

2: Start a conversation. They will want to have a relationship with you because you are an important part of their life at home.

3: Take every opportunity to share good news. It is so much easier to share bad news if you have previously given some great news.

4: Listen to any parental concerns. It may be difficult to hear but if you can show you listen and act on a concern you will build a reputation of being fair and approachable.

5: Find ways to keep parents informed. Giving parents an idea of what you are learning and questions to ask at home helps reinforce all of your hard work in the classroom.