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By Chris Moss • February 10, 2017

How to improve attendance at parents’ evenings

Parents’ evenings are a golden opportunity to engage parents and improve outcomes for pupils. A good parents' evening can lead to improved home-school communication, and pupils feeling more motivated.

A key challenge when organising a parents' evening is getting the right people to attend. The parents who don't attend are often the ones that teachers are most keen to talk to.

So how can you get those hard-to-reach parents to attend? Here are three ideas...

Change the record

Parents are only human. It isn’t surprising when they're reluctant to come into school, especially if they expect to be bombarded with bad news. Some parents will become defensive when they hear of their child's poor behaviour or lack of effort. The parents can even take it as personal criticism.

Why not pre-empt this with some positive news before parents evening? Get into the regular habit of sharing the best of your school and you’ll find that they are much more open to hearing about areas for development.

Send positive news home as often as you can. A quick call, text message or notification through a school app could make a big difference.

Download our free Parents' Evening Checklist

Communicate regularly

Teachers are busy and it's tempting to save up home-school communication for parents' evening. But this can be disastrous when it comes to engaging hard-to-reach parents.

Imagine one of these parents has plucked up the courage to attend parents evening for the first time. They then spend the next hour hearing how their child is misbehaving and falling behind in their learning. Have you shared this information before? If not, then how likely are they to come back for more?

If you’ve got bad news, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. If there is an ongoing problem, get in touch straightaway keep supply regular updates. Then use parents evening as an opportunity to share some good news!

Make parents feel welcome

Parents’ evening doesn’t have to be the only time you invite parents to school. There are lots of opportunities throughout the year to get parents involved in the school community. Invite them to join in with fundraising events, or to take part in activities for awareness days.

Why not hold a coffee morning for charity and invite parents to socialise? This is a great way to change attitudes about coming into school. It’s also a handy opportunity to remind them of when the next parents’ evening is!

If parents are used to coming in and having a positive experience, they are more likely to attend parents’ evenings and academic review days in the future.

Find opportunities to engage parents in your school

For ideas on how to get parents more involved in your school community, click here to download our free Parental Engagement Calendar.

Download our free Parents' Evening Checklist