A parent-friendly ethos
Richard Pearson, a member of the parent forum, told us what it involves. "It’s a place where, if you’re a parent and you have issues with the school or things you need to understand, it’s the ideal place to gain knowledge and work with the school to improve or resolve the issue. We meet the first Friday of every term, and it’s a relaxed atmosphere, everyone’s welcome, and parents can voice an opinion or contribute ideas that will benefit the school. We discuss them and then feed back to the parent. It makes them feel better, even if it’s just understanding the rationale as to why things in school happen the way they do."
Communicating with parents
After the redevelopment of the school, keeping parents in the loop was key to helping things settle down quickly. "We’d only just moved into the new school when the parent forum held its first meeting," Richard told us. "Parents set out plans for what they and the teachers wanted, and we made sure communication was better." There were lots of ways the parent forum achieved this:
- Weekly newsletter – includes forum updates
- Noticeboards – forum details and activities on display in school
- Facebook page – questions posted and then raised at forum meetings
- Dedicated webpage on school website – forum activities visible to whole school community
- Email address published on school website – parents can directly contact the forum at any time, which especially benefits those who prefer privacy
- Class Dojo and School Gateway introduced – keeps parents informed digitally on a day-to-day basis.
Buy-in from school leadership
The parent forum at Glenbrook Primary School has benefited from a supportive Principal. "School is 100% behind what we do. Generally, we have two staff members in every meeting, so it’s parent-led but has school support," Richard told us.
Impact of the parent forum
Richard says that they came up with a "what you asked, we did" section for the website, which, along with the Facebook page, will demonstrate the difference the parent forum has made to the school. Some of their priorities of late have been:
- Land. "We’re liaising with the local council over an unnamed and unmarked road with blocked drains that we use for access. We’re saying to the council that we’re happy to take the road off their hands and maintain it, as currently it’s un-adopted. We’re next to a Leisure Centre with a new swimming pool, cycle and running track, so there’s problems with the underground water source." This underground water source (Glenbrook) over the years has caused issues with drainage, whilst the new Leisure Centre and overflow car park have also had their issues with blocked drains, which were related to the unnamed, unmarked road. "The drains have subsequently been cleared by Nottingham City Council contractors we are really pleased with this outcome," Richard added.
- Parking. "There’s another new school at the back of us using the same car parks as us, so we’re working with the other school and the leisure centre to get a few things sorted out, as parking spaces are at a premium. There’s a lot of discussion back and forth."
- School uniform. There had been some issues of some children not meeting the uniform policy, which had been raised at the forum. After monitoring, around 95% of children in Y5/Y6 now meet the requirements. "At the last meeting, we had an idea to help those parents not in a position to buy more uniform, which is an upcycle / donation box for when children have outgrown their clothes, which also has unclaimed lost items. We’re hoping to put this into action soon, and benefit parents."
"There’s a diverse range of issues that parents raise with us," Richard informs us. "The forum members are known by most of the parents and we try to make ourselves available during school hours." This demonstrates the success of the parent forum at Glenbrook Primary School, which is able to positively support its parent community and be on hand to address any issues that arise.
"We do what we can to make things easier for parents and their children." Richard Pearson, Glenbrook Primary School Parent Forum member