The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Parental engagement

Fiona Carnie

Caring for vulnerable children: put listening at the heart of schools

Fiona Carnie draws on examples from practice at home and abroad to explore the vital role of listening in pandemic recovery, for children, families and staff. Many children – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds – are suffering deeply through this pandemic. Increasing numbers live in...
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John Viner

Home education: where do schools and parents stand?

Parents have a right to choose to educate their child at home and may do so for several reasons. With little regulation and lack of clear guidance, John Viner explores the role schools, local authorities and parents play. As a headteacher it always troubled me that parents can withdraw a child from...
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Dr Karamat Iqbal

Engaging parents in their children's education: a strengths-based approach

To be successful in building partnerships with parents and carers, schools need to rethink their approach to parental engagement. Dr Karamat Iqbal looks at how schools can build bridges with the world of parents. Partnership between parents and schools has been a part of the British education...
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Rachel Wright

Why 100% attendance awards are toxic to school environments

Going to school or work is important, but not as important as mental wellbeing and health. Rachel Wright argues why schools need to stop giving out attendance awards. ‘Four reasons my son won’t be collecting his 100% attendance award’ became a social media viral phenomenon in 2017. As a blogger and...
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John Viner

Turning 'problem parents' into partners

Hard to reach or scared to come in? John Viner shares how we can reach out to so-called 'problem parents' to better support our pupils. I am a slow learner. It took me over twenty years of headship before I really understood that even the most challenging parents are as much partners in their...
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Julia Watson

Dealing with challenging parents

How can teachers deal with parental behaviour they find challenging? Julia Watson shares three common scenarios and how to overcome them. Working in partnership with parents is the ideal for every teacher. When it works well, the tag-team of parent and teacher can be transformative for the welfare...
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Gareth D Morewood

Meaningful open evenings: a parent’s perspective

An opportunity to present school life at its most authentic and encourage early co-production is not to be wasted. Gareth D Morewood shares one parent’s summary of their recent open evening. For some schools, open evenings can feel like a real chore. The prevailing question among staff can be ‘Why...
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Jenn Alexander

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest app of them all?

Apps can be the perfect platform to keep parents in the fold. Jenn Alexander explains how schools can embrace this technology and streamline their communication. Studies have shown that the more engaged the parent, the better the student performs. From a safeguarding perspective, reaching parents...
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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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