Communication with parents and carers
Parents are entitled to be partners in their child’s education, be kept informed, and actively involved in discussion and decisions. As before, effective relationships with parents and carers will have a direct impact on the success of transition to a blended learning model and will contribute to children and young people achieving their full potential.
In line with the strategic framework for reopening schools, early learning and childcare provision, it is recommended that schools and authorities involve parents early on and throughout the recovery phase and communicate clearly and timeously on the new arrangements and any measures to ensure their child’s health and safety. Continuing to take a supportive approach and to focus on solutions to difficulties will be key. At the same time, schools will need to be clear with parents and carers that their duty to secure education for their children remains in place. The approaches to promoting attendance and reducing absence, which are usually used, will also be appropriate at this time.
It is important not to overwhelm parents and carers with information. Key contacts from within the school can provide a single point of contact for parents to get in touch and discuss any issues.
The parent council remains a vital part of the school community and a key link between parents and school leadership. The Parent Council can raise and discuss any matters relating to curriculum, school policies and 'whole school' issues relating to learning.
Reflecting family circumstances
The needs and priorities of parents and carers will continue to vary considerably depending on where they are in the country, their child's specific needs, their household circumstances and their knowledge and confidence. There will be a continued need to support all families but in particular, families affected by bereavement, reductions in household income, unemployment, childcare and other issues, all of which may have become more prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Opportunities for partnership approaches
Building effective relationships with parents and carers will contribute to children and young people achieving their full potential. The rights of the child should be paramount as outlined in the UNCRC. Parents and carers should be supported to receive any additional support and reassurance that they may need.
ASL Mediation services are still operating and schools and local authorities may wish to use their local provider to discuss what support could be available for staff around potentially challenging conversations. These services aim to prevent distressing and challenging situations emerging. Getting them involved early to defuse potentially difficult and emotional issues will support staff, parents and carers and, in turn children and young people.