Built hundreds of website and helped countless schools realise their potential online. Ian should be called upon for straight-talking advice and to make a difference to the way you present your school through every outlet.
Creating and implementing a successful parental engagement strategy in your school doesn't have to be something to fear or delay. We're all engaged in communicating with parents and the school community in one form or another every day. Through our parental engagement app, via email, through our website, or even at the school gate. All of these count as parental engagement and are vital to cultivating successful relationships.
As a school website and parental engagement provider, our aim is to make this as easy as possible. And, the goal of having a plan that you use routinely, knowing that your message is reaching your community reliably - that's something that is hard to attain. But, it's not impossible.
Here are 4 reasons you need to create a parental engagement strategy for your school. And the sooner the better.
We've all heard the old adage; 'if you aim at nothing, you're sure to hit it'.
The same is true of parental engagement. If we're not aiming towards a goal, at best we will be communicating in disjointed ways. We'll likely be communicating effectively with those with whom we have direct contact but, in all likelihood, our wider school communications will be disjointed.
So, what do we do?
Your parental engagement strategy is the key to bringing together everything you do to communicate. Then, it's about using tools to streamline the process, save time and measure the impact of your efforts.
Without a strategy, achieving any of this is impossible.
When we talk about various aspects of school website compliance, we often refer to the need to create a report or a page of information that is relevant to your school. The reason for this is that Ofsted looks at how you are using things like Pupil Premium to meet the needs of your community.
The same is true of parental engagement.
A few years ago, it was largely unheard of for schools to use Facebook as a primary means to communicate with their families. However, the Headteacher of a school I visited in the North West of England, in a particularly deprived area, informed me that if they didn't use Facebook none of the parents would ever know what was happening in school. The parents didn't use apps, they changed their emails and phone numbers frequently and didn't read any pieces of paper that were sent home.
For a little while, I tried to think of a strategy to help the school use one of our tools to reach the community. I was wrong, the school was already doing a brilliant job without any input from me!
Of course, there are lots of amazing tools that do indeed help enormously but, your priority as a school should be to find the tools that work for your community.
Ask yourself - what is the preferred communication method my parents prefer? That's a great starting point for a successful strategy.
And that leads us on to think about what tools you ultimately decide to use.
Once you have an understanding of where your parents are, what tools they use, and how they would like to be communicated with, only then can you decide on the best route to take. The very best EdTech designed to powerfully impact parental engagement does this work for you. They are designed to help you communicate with parents where they are.
In terms of what tools you may use, you may look at apps such as ParentHub, social media managers, or email newsletter platforms.
Remember though, your school website is your most important tool - read this post to find out why.
One of the most critical benefits of having a parental engagement strategy in place is that you can then measure your effectiveness against your goals.
So, if your goal is to grow your social media audience and to know that parents are engaging with your content - you can do that. A good social media management tool will provide regular reports on audience growth and rates of engagement, such as likes.
What if your goal is to more effectively communicate with existing parents? A good parental engagement app will allow you to monitor the coverage of your students, ensuring everyone has a current contact.
Whatever tool you're using to reach your parents and community, it is vital that you are tracking their performance. Ensure they are giving you the value for money you need and the information you need to evidence their value and impact.
So, what next? You should definitely get started by thinking about who your audience is and where they are. What tools do they use and how do they prefer to be reached. That's going to be the very best place to start.
To learn more, check out our Parental Engagement Guide.
It's always up to date with the very latest information on how to create an effective parental engagement strategy. It's also packed with information about the various tools you can use to build a strategy that is effective and will last.
Simply add your email and you'll get expert advice weekly, direct to your inbox.