Contact between school and parents

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At a glance

Guidance about the important relationship between parents and schools, including parent-teacher meetings.

Keeping you involved

Research shows that good links between you and your child’s school improve their enjoyment and chances of doing well. The more you know about what your child is learning, the more you can offer support.

Most schools try hard to involve you in your child’s education. They do this in two main ways:

  • by keeping you informed about how and what your child is learning – ie the curriculum, teaching methods, tests and exams, and changes to the education system
  • by keeping you informed about your child’s individual progress

Ways to keep in touch

Every school gives parents a report on their child’s progress at least once a year. You’ll also be invited to attend at least one parent-teacher meeting during the year.

To keep you informed about other issues – eg after-school clubs, dinner money, outings – letters will be sent home with your children, and/or emailed. Some schools use text messages to communicate urgent information – eg school closures.

Absence

You’ll need to contact the school if your child is absent because of illness or a hospital appointment. If your child doesn’t turn up and you haven’t explained why, the school may telephone you to make sure they aren’t truanting.

Many schools encourage parents to email teachers direct. This is a quick and easy way to tackle problems at an early stage without making an appointment.

Parent-teacher meetings at primary school

At parent-teacher meetings you can meet your child’s class teacher to find out how they’re doing. At primary school, your child doesn’t usually come with you. Their teacher will give you an outline of what your child is learning and how well they’re keeping up. You’ll be able to see recent examples of their work. The appointment will usually be for ten minutes and during the early evening.

Parent-teacher meetings at secondary school

For secondary school parent-teacher meetings your child will usually come with you. At secondary school, pupils have different teachers for each subject so you’ll need to meet your child’s form tutor as well as their subject teachers.

This can make secondary school parent-teacher evenings complicated, and schools organise them in different ways. Usually subject teachers sit at desks in the main hall and you queue to see them. Sometimes you and your child sit at a desk and the teachers move around.

If there are issues you don’t want to discuss in front of your child, contact the school and make a separate appointment.

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