Parents are every school’s essential ambassadors, the unsung heroes of school marketing. They are key to your school attracting and retaining families and have a huge impact on the reputation your school enjoys (or otherwise). They will talk about their children and their children’s school experiences – good and not so good – given any opportunity.
Parents are significant and credible influencers, so we’ve pulled together some top tips for keeping parents positively engaged and saying all the right things behind your back!
- Create opportunities to bring parents into school: getting parents over the threshold and involving them in school life is the surest way to get them talking positively about it. Run parent and child art workshops, grandparent visit mornings, or get parents helping in the classroom or with school trips. Ensure the timings of sports days, concerts, performances or school fairs allow even the busiest of parents to attend at least one event each term.
- Feedback to parents: Be proactive in feeding back to parents about their child at every opportunity; don’t simply rely on the formal termly reports or parents’ evenings to do so. Ask every tutor or class teacher to send one positive email per term to parents about their child, highlighting a special moment or something that has impressed. This will be a delightful surprise for parents to find in their inbox.
- Communication, communication, communication: never assume that because something is in the school calendar, parents will know it is happening. Parents are busy people! They need constant (gentle) reminders in person, via email, the weekly newsletter, instant messages and termly communications. This will help to keep parents informed and will ease any parental frustrations about not knowing that the after-school drama club wasn”t on this week, or that there was a coffee morning where their child was speaking!
- Be accessible: Don’t underestimate the ‘feel good’ factor of seeing key members of staff at the school gates or at the classroom doors either in the morning or at the end of each day. This visibility will give parents a feeling of greater access to their child’s teachers and learning environment, and will help create a positive layer for school-parent relations.
- Harness technology: use social media for less ‘formal’ communications, the place parents know they can find pictures and stories about school trips, what’s going on in the classroom (project work, experiments, displays), special events and school visitors. Introduce school-wide use of apps such as Show My Homework that allow parents to be supportive of their child’s school work – tracking what is set, topics being covered and important deadlines.
When parents are actively engaged in your school they feel involved, have a voice and are much more likely to share their positive experiences with the wider world. Do you really know what your parents are saying about the school? Our Sneak Peek and Deep Dive services include hearing from parents themselves about their experiences and expectations, helping to provide real insight into parental perceptions of your school.
If your school would like help with any aspect of parental engagement or if you’d like to know more about our packages or any aspect of our marketing and research services, simply get in touch. We’re always happy to explain how our work helps schools to get results that impact positively on their school recruitment and revenue.
School Marketing & Research Consultant and Chief Cheerleader
The Stickman Consultancy