The second month of the academic year is with us and already some schools will be inviting parents in to discuss the progress of their children. To get the most out of a meeting with a teacher it is worth taking just a small amount of time to prepare and know what questions you should be asking.
Regardless of regular feedback, parents’ evenings are a great opportunity to find out how your child is progressing at school – academically, socially and in extra-curricular activities. However, if you are going to get the most out of the parents’ evening you will need to be prepared with some questions.
The questions you might like to ask will be determined by the age of your child, at primary level a parents’ evening is a chance for parents to meet with the child’s main teacher and discuss the pupil’s progress which is typically without them present. At secondary level, children have several different teachers who are responsible for teaching different subject areas and the pupils are often present.
For children starting at a new school it is important to understand how they are settling in, are they making new friends for example? For children who are soon to be sitting national tests think about asking how the school supports students and how you as a parent can help your child with revision. When it comes to GCSE and A-Level options discuss with teachers the child’s past record and their best performances.
The effective questions parents should ask a teacher are ones which help to offer a greater understanding of a child’s strengths and weaknesses and how the weaker areas can be improved.
- What area is my child strongest in?
- How are you encouraging them in this area?
- What area is my child weakest?
- How are you supporting them in this area?
- What can we do at home to help?
- What is the largest upcoming challenge for my child?
Making The Most Of Your Time
It is said preparation is the key to success, draw-up some questions before you arrive at the school, it is a good idea to speak with your child to see whether they have anything for you to bring-up at parents’ evening.
Look to build a strong and collegiate relationship with your child’s teacher, all too often a discussion can easily become a confrontational one when a parent hears something they do not want to hear about their child from someone else.
Finally, it is important to remember, do not leave it to parents’ evening if there is something concerning you about your child. If at any point during your child’s school journey think about speaking to the teacher or teachers sooner.