Leading parent voice champion, PTA UK, is calling for schools and parents to take some simple steps to increase the opportunities for working parents to get involved in their child’s education and school life.
PTA UK Policy and Communications Director, Michelle Doyle Wildman says: “There is overwhelming evidence on the importance of parental participation in education. It’s therefore vital, as the number of working parents grow, that our schools are able to move with the times to ensure working families are both fully involved in school life and engaged in learning.
She adds: “Sadly, there appears to be very little practical support or advice available for working parents or schools to improve how they collaborate. So, undaunted, we at PTA UK HQ have come up with some of our own! We hope schools and parents find this a useful and inspiring checklist for 2016 for the benefit of all our children.”
PTA UK's top tips for schools and teachers:
1. Know your parents
Know your parents, ask them what would help and think about it from their perspective. Many teachers have a valuable insight into this as they are parents too!
2. Plan your communications
Plan your Communications and engage with technology including social media so that you can have dialogue with a broad range of parents as well as providing information. Do remember to allow parents to help you get to know their child better.
3. Assign a champion
Assign a ‘Working Parent’ Governor or champion on the senior leadership team to ensure your school is friendly to all parents.
4. Embrace 21st Century communications
Encourage a 21st Century PTA or parent council in your school that is inclusive and embraces digital communications to reach as wide a variety of parents as possible.
5. Be flexible and creative
Is there scope for more flexibility and creativity? Are opportunities to meet with parents on a Saturday or later on in the evening completely out of the question?
6. Offer valuable and reliable clubs
Do take steps to make any ‘wraparound’ clubs that you offer as reliable and valuable as possible – perhaps through the use of suppliers, partnerships with other schools and consider how they can support your curriculum or improvement goals rather than act as childcare.
PTA UK's top tips for working parents:
1. Consider flexible working
Have you considered and explored flexible working with your employer? What about working from home one day a week or working a nine day fortnight?
2. Get involved
Pledge to get involved in school life however small or large your contribution may be. Could you spare a couple of hours a year volunteering in school or would your professional skills make you a great school governor or trustee?
3. Be active online
Get to know your school – online. Read and respond to emails, school website, consultations and surveys.
4. Speak up
Speak up and encourage change to help working parents. Could you and a group of like-minded parents come up with some suggestions and engage the school team or governors on the matter?
5. Connect with the school
Getting involved with a PTA, parent body or other parent body may help you get feel more connected to school life and has other rewards.
6. Book an appointment
Do not hesitate to book an appointment with your child’s teacher as you need. Teachers or other staff may be able to talk over the phone if getting into school is difficult.
7. Stay positive
Don’t sweat the small stuff and keep positive – get into the routine of helping your child with key bits of homework or reading on your days off or weekend, don’t worry about doing everything perfectly and keep up a confident front.
Please take a look at our latest blog about working parents and leave a comment with your views: The elephant in the classroom - how can we ensure working parents are included in education?