Last Thursday we attended the Educated Yorkshire event at Elland Road, Leeds and set out to get to the bottom of what comms challenges schools are regularly faced with.
Armed with our ‘Top 3 Comms Challenges’ white board, we asked attendees at the event to write down three communication issues that they regularly come across within the school.
Here’s a handful of some of the answers:
- Ensuring the school website is kept up to date
- Getting parents and staff to keep up with the digital advancements in communication such as the use of social media and SMS
- Getting parents to ensure their contact information is up to date
- Sharing positive news with the community and surrounding areas
- Communicating day to day changes to parents
Although we could see a variety of challenges, it was clear that school to parent communication stood out as not only the most common issue but the most important.
For years’ schools have been communicating with parents via letters home or phone calls, but recently we have seen the introduction of SMS and social media as a form of school to parent communication.
The level to which schools choose to implement SMS varies, and with so many options it’s easy to put them into place gradually in order to find out what works and what doesn’t.
Some of the most common ways school use SMS to interact with parents and vice versa are:
- Informing parents/carers of a student’s failure to register for lesson
- Cancellation of any excursions
- Making parents/carers aware of any late marks their child has obtained
- Informing parents/carers of after school detentions
As well as the introduction of SMS, many education establishments have utilised social media as an efficient form of communication. Many schools now have Twitter and/or Facebook accounts that they regularly send updates from in order to keep parents and students up to date. In some cases, parents can report their child’s absence via direct messaging, adding ease to the process.
Schools have found that by making the communication route as easy as possible for parents they are more are willing and likely to communicate, not just absences but any issues or queries they may have.
If managed correctly the use of social media and SMS for a school is not something to be afraid of, it can increase the reporting of absences by 50% or more and enable parents to build a sustainable communication route with the school, whilst keeping the students safe.
*Photo Credit: John Steel Photography