How Your School Website Can Improve Parental Engagement

It's widely accepted that effective parental engagement has a really powerful impact on the achievements of your students. It's true whatever age and whatever the setting. A school with an great overall strategy will use online technology to achieve powerful parental engagement.

Your website and, if you have one, school app, can be used really effectively as part of this overall strategy. Over the next few weeks we'll provide some really helpful insights. We'll cover all the major elements to successfully using online technology to improve parental engagement. But there's a few things to get in place first.

Identify the importance of involving parents

Do a quick search for 'parental engagement' on your favourite search engine and you'll see lots of advice and support. Then there's loads of reports and tools. Every one has the specific aim of helping you engage parents more effectively. That could be through multi-agency working, joined up working or good old-fashioned face-to-face communication. The a reason for so many options; the evidence. Schools with highly effective parental engagement see three things happen. Firstly, a direct impact on attendance. Secondly, improvements in attainment. And thirdly, satisfaction levels within and around the school community.

Why online tools are important

Of course, there are lots of ways that you can be effective before you get to your online activity. But if you ignore the opportunities that your website and other tools provide you're missing a serious trick!

The landscape is still changing so quickly that thinking through your online presence isn't something that you can ignore. Parents use websites more and more as their first port of call for information about schools. (As an aside we're now past the 60% mark for people visiting school websites on mobiles and tablets!). Parents expect information to be delivered to them in a way that they can engage with.

Prospective parents are doing their initial search for local schools online more and more every day. Delivering this information consistently and regularly is vital. They largely just want to absorb the information.

BUT, they also expect to be able to respond to your outgoing communications effectively when it suits them.

Face to face engagement will always have it's place and it's significance should never be downplayed or ignored. However, there are ways you can powerfully engage your parents by using appropriate online technology as well.

Use the tools at your disposal effectively

Your website is your primary tool.

If you have a school app then it can be a brilliant way of engaging parents. Text messages are a fantastic way to drop information in the laps of parents when you need to.

But over the coming weeks we're going to look in more detail at the best online tools that allow two-way engagement.

We'll cover Email & Email Marketing, Blogs & Comments, Google Analytics. Then we'll go onto Online Absence Notifications, SEO for Schools, Social Media Challenges & Joys. We're also going to solve the question of The Website vs The School App. There's lots to consider!

We'll get on to all of that! The questions for today?

Does your website give you the power to engage your school community?
Are you able to use your online tools to reach your parents?
Are your parents able to engage with your school through your online tools?
What could you do better?

If you're not happy with your answer to any of these questions then stick with us for the rest of this series.

But do get in touch if you're struggling at the moment. If your website needs a big overhaul, talk to us about a software walkthrough. We'll chat about how the right school website partner will help you succeed.

Otherwise, keep looking out for the rest of this series. You'll learn everything you need to become an expert in online parental engagement.


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