For many schools their relationship with parents is confined to the annual Parents’ Evening and a communication when things go wrong. Many successful schools recognise the importance of extending this relationship into learning.
When I was leading an inner city school in difficult circumstances, I found that our year managers were working flat out communicating with parents whenever their child did wrong. One manager had communicated by phone and letter 37 times in one month with a single parent about the things their child had done wrong. By refocussing them on promoting achievement, rather than tracking down poor behaviour we began to win the parents back on side. Each term we held an achievement assembly to which parents were invited to see their child presented with a certificate which rewarded their achievement in one or more of individual progress, group and year progress, academic achievement, personal growth, service to the community and environmental development. Making what was a simple refocus of purpose and effort reaped huge rewards in terms of making for a more cohesive learning community.
There are a whole range of strategies that schools can employ to engage parents more actively in their child’s learning. This Edutopia article is a very good starter for ideas: New Teachers – Working With Parents | Edutopia