This weekend, Children’s Commissioner Anne Longford warned that hundreds and thousands of children were off the radar during the current lockdown; Ofsted stated that there were ‘worrying blind spots’ in some schools’ engagement with their most vulnerable children and their families and DFE data reported that just 5% of pupils identified as vulnerable are accessing ‘lockdown’ school provision.
This is not surprising to those of us who work in the sector. Building strong effective relationships with all families is crucial to the success of engaging all parents in supporting their child’s learning and development. All parents want their children to do well.
Sadly, it is a tremendous challenge for teachers and schools. Building trusting relationships with families that have not traditionally engaged with teachers or schools requires a non-judgemental approach and takes time, persistence and commitment.
In our overworked school communities, working in partnership with parents to support learning is often not understood or seen as a priority.
BUT, almost overnight, the dynamic of the teacher-parent relationship has changed. Families have become partners in their children’s learning and well-being rather than just policing the delivery of homework. This shared experience gives us all an exciting opportunity to reset and rethink how we engage with families to support learning… and this is a fantastic opportunity.
This extraordinary time gives class teachers the opportunity to contact each family to start building those empowering relationships. Like all relationships it is about ‘feeling the way’, keeping conversations friendly and informal, checking out how parents want to be addressed, focusing very much on well-being rather than the learning. Conversations about learning will emerge as relationships are developed.
Contacting every family once a week will bring untold rewards and benefits for all learners!