The parents’ evening is going out of fashion, according to a recent article in The Guardian.
Monitor children’s progress
Polly Curtis reports: Rather than an evening a term queuing for a five-minute chat with teachers, parents want more frequent access, or to monitor their children’s progress online, according to research commissioned by the Department for Children, Schools and Families.
The DCSF report, summarised here, suggests that parents’ working lives are getting in the way of engagement with their students’ education, especially homework.
DCSF secretary Ed Balls: Parents tell us they like having informal contact with their child’s school – whether that’s a chat in the playground or the chance to go online and see their teenager’s latest marks and make sure they are going to all their classes.
‘Parent Know How’ scheme
The DCSF research was based on telephone interviews with more than 5,000 parents or guardians of children at state schools. This is part of the government department’s ‘Parent Know How’ scheme, which is looking at ways to help parents with support and advice. (Teachernet already offers some bullet-pointed advice for teachers on how to get the most out of parents’ evenings, here.)
The DCSF is approaching this from the parent’s direction. Meeting the needs of parents with online reporting is something we’re very interested in – after all, we already do this with our Maths-Whizz Tutoring, and components for the forthcoming Maths-Whizz Tutoring for Schools service.
The rationale behind such programmes
Citing studies showing that parental involvement can have a positive effect on a child’s academic performance, educators praise the programs’ capacity to engage parents.
A little parental prodding and cajoling to study is no bad thing, especially when the weather’s as good as it is now in the UK, but we find that it is the students who are instrumental in deciding when, and how, they use Maths-Whizz. The reporting tools we offer parents allow them simply to keep track of this and give them starting points to talk about their children’s studies.
It’s likely the DCSF and news outlets yield more such findings about parents evenings, student tracking and the like. This is all grist to the mill for us, and valuable information that helps us shape our Tutoring programmes.