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How can I Make the Most of Parents’ Evenings?

To make the most of parents’ evenings, make a list of questions, take notes, form a friendly relationship with the teacher and listen to what they say. Follow these steps and you’ll find out about your child’s education, and how you can help

Father, daughter and teacher at parents' evening

Parents' evenings are pivotal moments in a child's educational journey, offering a direct line of communication between parents and teachers. These occasions provide insights into your child's progress, an understanding of their learning environment, and a chance to address any concerns you may have. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore how to make the most of parents' evenings, ensuring a productive and informative experience.


Deciphering the Essence of Parents' Evenings

Parents' evenings serve three primary purposes:

  • Meeting your child's teacher/s to discuss academic progress
  • Providing teachers with insights into your child's home life
  • Offering you an opportunity to pose questions to the teachers

Appointments are typically scheduled for these evenings, allowing you dedicated time with the teachers. Confirm with the school regarding your child's attendance, as policies may vary.

Frequency and Significance

Legally, schools must conduct at least one parents' evening a year, but in most schools, there are two, usually in the autumn and spring terms. The first focuses on your child's adjustment to the new class, while the second reviews their progress and identifies areas for improvement before the next school year.

If Attendance Becomes a Challenge

If you cannot attend parents' evening for any reason, promptly contact the school to reschedule or arrange a separate appointment. Address concerns without delay; waiting until the next parents' evening is not necessary.

Preparing Thoughtfully for Parents' Evening

Prioritize attendees and consider bringing a friend or family member for additional perspectives. Engage with your child beforehand, discussing school life and noting any questions they may want you to ask. Prepare a list of questions, focusing on your most pressing concerns.

Essentials to Bring Along

While most attendees do not bring anything, a prepared list of questions can be useful. Consider taking a notepad and pen to jot down essential information during the meeting, ensuring you don't miss any critical details.


Conducting Yourself Effectively

Parents' evenings provide an opportunity to build a positive relationship with your child's teacher/s. Listen attentively, avoid talking over them, and refrain from becoming defensive if discussing areas of improvement. Teachers aim to bring out the best in your child.

Key Questions to Ask

During the discussion, consider asking the following questions:

  • Can I share a specific concern?
  • Can you provide insights into...?
  • Do you have any advice for me?
  • Is my child meeting the set standard?
  • Is there a particular strength my child has?
  • What areas can my child improve in?
  • How can I support improvement at home?
  • Can you explain the meaning of these results?
  • How is my child's behaviour in class?
  • How do they interact with their classmates?
  • Is my child happy?
  • Are they putting in their best effort?
  • How can I assist my child's learning at home?
  • Can I share updates on what's happening at home?

Post Parents' Evening Considerations

After the meeting, inquire about communication channels for future queries. Discuss the outcomes with your child, praising positive comments and addressing areas for improvement. Ensure your child feels involved, and that their concerns are taken seriously.

Facilitating Open Conversations with Your Child

Father talking to son about parents' evening

Upon returning home, engage in a conversation with your child about parents' evening. Commend positive comments, discuss areas for improvement, and relay any teacher-suggested actions. Open communication reinforces their involvement and the seriousness with which concerns are addressed.

Parents' evenings are not just meetings; they are opportunities to strengthen the partnership between home and school, fostering an environment where your child can thrive academically and emotionally.

For additional tips, explore the Parents In Touch website, and for more detailed insights, refer to the NAHT guide on maximizing your child's school experience. Of course, you can discover more about various aspects of education, schools, and parenting in our extensive Knowledge Bank.


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