The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Parental engagement

Damian Moore

'One happy family': sharing an emotional vocabulary

At the Holy Family School, designated provision for ASC gives parents and students alike the opportunity to talk emotions. The one group of parents that are likely to visit their children’s secondary school as much as they did their primary are the parents of pupils with SEND. This is the case at...
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Janet Goodall

Are parents ever hard to reach?

Dismissing parents as unavailable or uncooperative will never help schools to foster better engagement. If we want them to get involved, there has to be trust! Whenever I’m working with schools to improve parental engagement, I’m invariably asked the question: ‘What do we do about the parents who...
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Janet Goodall

What works for engaging parents?

From posters in the playground to bacon butties, schools are likely to find new ways to bring parents on board if they're given time to think creatively. We’ve recently completed a yearlong project with 34 local schools in the Wiltshire local authority. The aim was to improve these schools'...
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Chris Fenton

Manama or Manchester: parents are parents

When working with parents, is there any difference between being a headteacher in the UK and headteacher abroad? Chris Fenton describes his experience. I fought in a playground once. Not uncommon I suppose, but more so when I reveal that I was a headteacher at the time. I may be exaggerating a...
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Alex Cuetos

No talking at the back! Open classes and parental engagement

Calls for positive engagement can often fall on deaf ears, but teachers must endeavour to create a positive relationship with parents if they hope to improve pupil outcomes. I teach English at an experimental kindergarten in Foshan, China. I prepare my pupils not only for primary school, but also...
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Evie Prysor-Jones

Tools for keeping pupils and parents involved in progress

The ethos surrounding SEN in schools is obviously important, but to keep provision child-centred, a well-structured document can be invaluable. When target setting with pupils nothing could be more important than asking the pupil what they think. This sounds easy, but thinking about appropriate and...
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Gareth D Morewood

Keeping parent and carer confidence high on our agendas

Engaging with parents and carers is a vital component of the SEND Code of Practice 2015. Gareth D Morewood examines what strategies work well to ensure that it is still a key priority. The Lamb Inquiry Ever since the Lamb Inquiry into special educational needs and parental confidence there has been...
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Gareth D Morewood

5 steps to a successful SENCo year

At this time of year there is the usual proliferation of back to school advice through blogs, articles and tweets. I thought it may be useful to consider what the SENCo year is all about and what our priorities should be in this ever changing and challenging world of education. There are some...
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Rebecca Jennings

Empowering sex and relationship education

Whilst discussion continues around PSHE becoming statutory, sex and relationship education consultant Rebecca Jennings explains why schools should continue to focus on SRE. Information around sex and relationships is ever changing and with even more ways for children and young people to access...
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Debby Elley

Ensuring a smooth transition – a parental perspective

The process of transition happens to all pupils a few times during their school life. Debby Elley reflects on good practice for schools when welcoming pupils with SEND into their community. TRANSITION: The word is enough to make parents of autistic pupils quake in their boots. Transition means...
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