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Checking in with parents

Find out what parents, families and whānau think

Every school’s community has different wants and needs and finding out what works for them is very important.

Some suggested topics to ask about

1. Reporting practices

Find out what parents, family and whānau think about the school’s reporting timeline and practices and make changes as appropriate. This consultation could be by newsletter, a questionnaire, at an open meeting with interested parents, families and whānau or through a board or PTA meeting.

2. Plain language reporting

Different communities have different and diverse needs. Find out what ‘plain language’ means to your community. You could do this in the following ways:

  • Identify a set of questions that are frequently asked by parents, families and whānau (during interviews and/or after written reporting) about an aspect of reporting. This probably indicates that these areas need to be explained more clearly or replaced.
  • Find out what written reporting works best. Does reporting need to be visual as well as written (for example, samples of students' work, graphs, images)?
  • Support reports with a glossary or an explanation sheet. It’s a good idea to have any explanatory sheets read by a parent to check they are clear and easy to understand.

3. Means of communication

Ask about the different ways parents, families and whānau would like to communicate about their children’s learning. Do they find reporting most clear and easy to understand when it’s:

  • face-to-face, so that any queries are answered straight away
  • written or spoken in languages other than English
  • read aloud by the teacher or student (particularly for those who don’t read well, or whose first language is not English)
  • part of regular informal catch-ups
  • supported via regular (for example, monthly or fortnightly) emails, phone calls or texts?

4. Parent-teacher-student meetings

Find out from parents, families and whānau what works best for meetings, including:

  • how often
  • best times of day
  • length of meetings
  • whether childcare would be useful.