Last week I had a number of conversations with parents about niggles regarding their child’s progress at school, friendship or peer group issues or lack of key information to enable them to support their teenager in making informed decisions about their future. It amazes me that rarely do they seem to have discussed their queries or concerns with the school, choosing instead to seek answers amongst other parents or work colleagues. All too often parents appear to feel they should not be ‘making a fuss’ or interfering in the work of the professionals, leaving responsibility for their child’s education in the hands of the school, until suddenly a relatively large and unforeseen major issue emerges, seemingly out of the blue.
Success for any child in education should be delivered through a partnership between school and home, where parents support and reinforce the education message delivered at school on an on-going basis at home. Waiting until the annual parents' evening when teachers may have 100’s of other parents to speak to, as well as reading the twice yearly reports seldom gives parents an in-depth picture of their child’s contribution at school or whether they are working to their true academic potential in all subject areas and are well integrated socially.
Regular informal communication with key contacts at the school such as the class teacher, Head of Faculty, tutor or Head of Year, raising small worries as and when they occur, will assist parents to maintain an up-to-date picture of progress, behaviour, all-round participation in co-curricular opportunities and to quickly resolve small issues or concerns, before they have time to escalate, un-noticed into a crisis.
If problems do arise in the future, well-established lines of communication and a supportive relationship between school and home will facilitate speedy identification and resolution.