Good communication between a school and parents is obviously vitally important. It’s one of the key ways that we can ensure each child makes the best progress possible and gets the support they really need. While it’s also important for your Ofsted rating, communication is not just a box ticking exercise as many heads are keen to explain. There needs to be clear plan in place and a goal for creating better engagement.
Evidence shows that academic performance improves when schools pay special attention to their communication strategy with parents. It raises expectations and keeps mums, dads and carers in the loop which is why it’s something that all schools try to encourage as much as possible. This communication goes well beyond the traditional parent-teacher meeting or the odd quick conversation when someone comes to pick up their child. It’s about informing and engaging.
There are many strands to an effective communication strategy, of course. The good news is that modern technology is helping in a big way.
Dedicated School Apps
A few years ago, it would have been financially unrealistic for a school to have its own branded app. The cost of developing alone could make a significant dent in its budget. Things have changed though. First, most of us nowadays have a smart phone or tablet that we keep with us practically all the time. Second, and perhaps most importantly, the cost of creating a dedicated app for your school has come down dramatically. Functionality has also improved – you can do a lot more with modern apps.
An app can be downloaded quickly onto a smart device such as a mobile phone and provide immediate communication with parents. That means if you need to send an urgent message or a reminder, you can simply and quickly organise it through a push notification. It takes a lot of the pressure off your administration staff who don’t have to search around for addresses or phone around to make sure parents are kept informed.
There’s some great functionality in today’s modern school apps. They’re not just about sending out quick messages. You can include options like event calendars and timetables which parents can use to find out what their children are doing on any given day and organise their time. You can include videos and images of things like sport days and school plays. You can use it for quick and easy absence reporting and even include interesting articles on a school blog.
Then there are the documents you can make available such as your latest Ofsted report or the school uniform policy. If you’ve got an event coming up, you can include a booking form for parents to sign up and you can even engage on social media so you broaden your reach.
Schools that have decided to create their own branded app have found that communication with parents improves almost immediately. We all lead busy lives and having the information we need at hand wouldn’t be possible without our smart devices. They allow us to communicate on the move and stay in touch wherever we are in the world. If you want to take advantage of this, it may be time to take a closer look at what a branded app can do for your school.