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

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...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
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'...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
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...
Read more...