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What to do at Parents' Evening?




Parent's evening is a time set aside by the school to enhance parental engagement in their children's education. Typically held in the evening after regular school hours, this event provides parents with an opportunity to learn more about their child's classroom experiences and learning journey. It offers them the opportunity to ask questions, clarify any concerns, and foster a closer connection with their child's teachers.


For teachers, it's a valuable occasion to directly communicate concerns or praise regarding a child's behavior, participation in lessons, attentiveness to classwork and homework, notable achievements, or any other relevant matters. Additionally, parents' evening allows the school to share important information that might affect the entire class or the school community as a whole.



A big cause of frustration and anxiety for many parents is the feeling that they are not getting sufficient information from schools about their children’s learning journey. This problem could be fixed by regular attendance at Parents’ evenings. It is important to note that these meetings might not give sufficient time to resolve all issues or questions. Some schools can allocate up to 15 minutes meeting time per teacher, while others can only afford about 5 minutes. However, even in this short time, parents can gather the information they need, or set up a follow up meeting with the teacher or tutor.



So, how can parents make the most of Parents' evening?


  1.  Be sure to attend: The importance of parents’ evenings cannot be overemphasised, yet many parents do not attend even when schools give the dates well in advance. Be sure to include it in your diary, inform your employer ahead of time and ensure that one or both parents attend the evenings.

  2. Have a chat with your child ahead of the evening: Ask about which subjects they are most comfortable with and any subjects they feel anxious about. Highlight any positives and negatives with the subjects or learning environment as a whole. Ask how they feel they are doing in each of their subjects in terms of effort and grades, and how they are progressing. By asking the same of the teachers you will have the information to compare and be able to identify potential gaps.

  3.  Prepare your questions in advance:  Parents evening's must not be a one-way communication where the teacher does all the talking . Come prepared with some questions based on discussions with your child.


Here are some questions to ask

  • What is my child's target grade in this subject?  In other words, based on assessment tests or other baseline tests given to assess the child's potential, what is the child's expected performance in this particular subject at GCSE for secondary schools or SATs for primary schools.

  • What is my child's current grade in this subject? In other words, what is his or her current performance based on the most recent assessment.

  • Is homework usually completed to expected standards and handed in on time?

  • What resources, tools or interventions could the school provide for my child to make the necessary progress in the particular topic or subject where he or she is struggling?

  • What resources could we provide at home to help the child make the necessary progress? This could include textbooks, online resources or even a tutor.


Also


4. Come with an open mind ready to listen and learn. Parents' evening is not a time to argue with the teacher and refute every concern they have raised about your child.  Keep in mind that your child spends most waking hours in the school, so do pay a listening ear to any concerns the teachers raise, even if you do not fully agree with them. 


5. Appreciate each teacher for the efforts they put into teaching and supporting your child.


6. Schedule a more convenient time for a phone call or face to face meeting to further discuss any concerns that have not been satisfactorily dealt with.


7. If your child is unable to attend the parents evening with you, make out some time to go over all the discussions and findings from the parents evening with him or her so you could set out some strategies to maintain and improve progress. 

Remember, schools are meant to provide your child with the enabling environment and opportunities to flourish in their God given potentials. Parents must also do their best to provide an enabling learning environment at home to work in conjunction with the school.




Which of these points will you take on board for your next Parent’s evening?








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