Strategies for running a successful parents’ evening

blank Maddie Kilminster - 6 May, 2021

Category : Blog

Strategies for running a successful parents’ evening

Parents’ evenings are an integral part of the school year. They give parents the chance to feel involved in their child’s education and the school ethos.  With so much to consider – from organising, to making sure parents sign up, to keeping meetings running smoothly – managing successful parents’ evenings can be a stressful process. 

Parents’ evenings are an integral part of the school year. They give parents the chance to feel involved in their child’s education and the school ethos. 

With so much to consider – from organising, to making sure parents sign up, to keeping meetings running smoothly – managing successful parents’ evenings can be a stressful process. 

 

Tips for a successful parents’ evening

At Arbor, we make it easy for you to manage all of your school milestones in one place, and parents’ evening is no exception. Check out our top tips to help make your next parents’ evening a success:

1. Plan around your parents

Busy parents need to know when parents’ evenings are coming up so they can get organised, so it’s good practice to start planning how you’re going to run them early on in the year. To give parents flexibility, you might want to run meetings over multiple dates or at different times of day (some of our schools run them in the early afternoon). Think about how long you want each meeting to last – some parents might benefit from a longer session, or one outside of the timetable you’re offering.

2. Think of your Teachers

Make sure your schedule of meetings is realistic for your Teachers. Assess how many meetings you’ve got in a block and build in at least 15 minute breaks. It’s also a good idea if some Teachers can share the load, particularly those who job-share and might not need to do all of the meetings together. 

3. Make sure you get sign-ups

You might have a perfectly planned programme of parents’ evenings, but making sure parents know about them can be an added challenge. The trick is to make it as simple as possible for parents to find out the details, as well as book onto a session, all in one place. 

Make sure you send out key dates of parents’ evenings well in advance, including links or instructions to book their slot. It’s also a good idea to send out text or email confirmations to parents that they can refer back to, plus reminders in the weeks before.

4. Go virtual

Many schools have been running successful online parents’ evenings during school closures via Google Hangouts, Zoom or other video calling platforms. Many are continuing to run a combination of physical and virtual meetings as a useful way to engage harder-to-reach parents, or as an option for those who are particularly busy. For this to work, make sure your Teachers are comfortable using the video system, and that everyone does a practice run before the day to iron out any technical issues.

5. Have a crib sheet

We’re all human, and sometimes let’s face it, Teachers might struggle to remember the names of every single student and parent in their care. A top tip is to have a list to hand in the meeting of your students’ key information, including their guardians. Before the meeting, it’s also helpful to gather some summary reports of each student’s performance across assessment, behaviour, plus where they compare to other students. You could print out reports from your MIS (management Information System) or show these on a device.

6. Keep to a structure

It’s a good idea to decide as a department or Year group a standard format for your meetings that works best. That way, Teachers have guidance to fall back on and each meeting flows. Consider starting with an overview of the student’s performance this year across attendance, behaviour and assessment. Highlight their strengths first, followed by areas they need to improve.

Some schools find standardised record sheets effective, which Teachers fill out before and during the meeting, in order to make the main points clear for parents, keep terminology consistent, and to bring a sense of mutual accountability.

 

Parents’ evening booking systems

The highlight of a good system for running your parents’ evenings is one that allows you to schedule meetings, communicate information to parents, and for parents to book, all in one place. The best systems also make it easy for Teachers to access all the information they need about their students’ performance at their fingertips.

Arbor MIS brings everything together, so you can manage every stage of your parents’ evenings in one platform, without having to use a separate communications app. 

1. Schedule sessions in the calendar, including video links (if appropriate)
2. Invite parents by email, SMS, letter or via a message in the Arbor App (straight to their phone) including sign-up links
3. Schedule-in breaks in for Teachers in the calendar
4. Arrange custom meetings to suit certain parents
5. Confirm parents’ appointments by email or share via the Parent Portal (they’ll be able to access video links via their calendar)
6. Prepare instant reports for parents on students’ performance across assessment, behaviour and attendance, with comparisons against their class, Year and demographic averages
7. Access or download a timetable of all of your meetings
8. Access or download students’ profile information to have handy

 

Townley Grammar School have recently had success running virtual parents evenings in Arbor MIS. Hear from Louise Maddison, Data & MIS Manager, why it works for them: 

“It’s easy to share the links with Parents and Teachers, making the whole Virtual Parents Evening very slick. No need to email parents links separately; it’s all there for them. Parents can access the booking system through the Parent Portal & App, this is a very easy process for them. They can either download or use our location links live. Teachers see the appointments on their calendar and can access their appointments via the Guardian Consultations screen – very clear.”

 

Find out more about parents’ evenings in Arbor

Already using Arbor?

Head to the Help Centre for everything you need to know about setting up parents’ evenings in Arbor. 

New to Arbor?

If you’d like to find out more about how Arbor MIS could help your school or MAT work faster, smarter and collaborate more, why not arrange a personalised demo. Alternatively, join us at one of our upcoming free webinars

Leave a Reply