A teacher’s guide to parents’ evening: questions & tips

The first parents’ evening of the new school year is upon us, and primary school teachers are preparing to discuss your child’s progress over the last few weeks. Hayley Garland, a Reception Teacher in Surrey, shares her top parents’ evening questions and tips on making the most of this time…

What’s the purpose of parents’ evening?

When schools and parents work together, children do better. By sharing information about your child and asking questions about their learning, you are strengthening your partnership with your child’s teacher. This will ultimately help them to help your child.

Parents often find it difficult to attend parents’ evenings for a number of reasons; you may feel that you do not get sufficient time with the teacher or that they have only known your child for a short period of time. But taking the time to meet with your child’s teacher at this stage in the school year will help you to both understand and agree on the roles you play in your child’s education.

It is much easier to iron out any problems now than address them later on, and you may regret a missed opportunity to find out how you can support your child’s learning. The teachers really value your views too!

How to prepare for parents evening: tips

Here are some top tips for getting the most out of your parents’ evening:

  • Sometimes you will receive a report on your child’s performance prior to the parents’ evening. It is important that you take the time to read this report, especially the “Next Steps” section, as this is what your child will be currently working towards. This can be a good starting point for your discussion with the teacher. Be sure to ask if you don’t understand anything in the report too!

  • If your child is older and it is appropriate, you might want to involve them in the discussion about their attainment, progress and areas for development. This will help them to feel involved in their learning and empower them with the confidence to make decisions about their future education.

  • Letting your child’s teacher know what’s going on outside of school, such as a change in family circumstances or anything that may be worrying your child, is really helpful. You are not obliged to talk about anything that you don’t feel comfortable sharing, but the school will appreciate any information that may be impacting your child’s learning.

  • If English is an additional language for you, most schools will welcome a relative or friend who can support your communication with the teacher. They may even get in touch with a translator for you.

  • Technology is a wonderful tool for communication – whether it’s a phone call or video call. If only one parent is able to attend, you can ask the teacher permission to record the discussion on a smartphone for the benefit of the other parent. You can also, with permission, take photographs of your child’s work on a smartphone.

Parents’ evening questions for teachers

You can prepare by thinking about any questions to ask at parents’ evening. Ultimately, every parent wants to know if their child is happy at school, but you might consider asking what can I do to help my child at home or what will my child be learning about next. As well as an update on progress, you will also pick up some practical tips and sometimes schools provide parents with extra information to take home too!

Don’t forget – you can write the questions down and take notes with you!

At Explore Learning, we work closely with our members and their school to help get the best academic support for each child. Get in touch with your local Explore Learning centre to find out more.

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