Parents and teachers want more contact out of hours

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A new study into the parent/teacher relationship reveals that parents and teachers want to communicate more regularly with one another in less formal situations such as social evenings and via social media.

The YouGov study shows that  67 % of teachers and 68% of parents questioned would welcome more contact. Nearly a quarter of parents would like to be able to text or correspond with teachers out of school hours.

With both parents working, increased workloads and travel difficulties, parents are increasingly unavailable during the school day and often unable to attend traditional parents evening.

However, with all levels of society becoming increasingly ‘tech savvy’ and seeking less formal forms of communication, the study suggests the education sector should move with the times and embrace digital tools and technology to both engage and inspire their students.
The YouGov study, commissioned by Tesco for Schools & Clubs, reveals that the majority of parents speak to their child’s teacher once a term (50%) - primarily at parents evening (76%), through a note passed on by their child (45%) or via a letter (28%). 

However more than half of the teachers questioned (55%) and over two thirds (67%) of parents polled would welcome additional contact by email while more than a quarter of parents (27%) would like to be able to text or correspond with their child’s teacher over social media networks such as Facebook.

Even more radically, 14% of teachers and 13% of parents said they would like social evenings together without children – sharing a coffee, pint or bowling session.

Teachers want parents to play an even bigger part in their child’s school life and frequent informal communication could be the key to helping unlock more opportunities to get involved. The study revealed that 61% of teachers would like parents to help more and over a third of parents (37%) want to be more actively involved with their child’s school. 
Parents already contribute a significant amount to schools by making financial contributions (29%), but there is scope for parents to be even more involved. 

58% of teachers would like to see parents help out during class time, 59% would welcome parents’ help on school trips and 63% would like to see parents get involved in after school clubs.

This is the 19th year Tesco has run its voucher scheme - offering schools and clubs across the UK  equipment and resources. In 2009, more than 33,000 schools and clubs took part, ordering more than half a million pieces of equipment, worth in excess of £13.6 million.

Josh Hardie, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Tesco, said:“It’s not just parents and teachers who are embracing the digital age and pursuing less formal lines of communication, email and social media form part of the daily lives of an increasingly large number of tech savvy children.  In response, teachers are increasingly turning to digital tools to engage and inspire their students which is why this year we’re incorporating iPod touch handsets, Flip Camcorders and Digital Blue Snap Cameras in our catalogue.”

Communication platforms available to schools include:

  • Internal and external phone communication. Voice mail systems accessed from both phone and PC. Recorded event and homework reminders accessible by parents and students. Reported absences.
  • Voice recording systems, protection against abuse, litigation, training tool for new staff.
  • Instant messaging and discreet collaboration via teacher laptops. Increases security in class and response times in case of incident.
  • Conferencing and Collaboration, connecting in real time to teachers via the internet. Share work on screen, discuss progress, anti-social behaviour. Enhance parent/teacher relationship.
  • Sophisticated call routing for out of hours contact – Homework Hotline. Extending the learning environment and increasing motivation.
  • Mass notification to students and parents, emergencies and closures – email/SMS and voice mail.
  • Video and Web Conferencing – Courses for disparate students. Virtual field trips without leaving the facility. Potential for college income, specialised subjects.

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Charities call for greater parental engagement

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