Communication is a vital component of successful relationships. There is no difference for schools and families where the partnership is central to successful outcomes. There is substantial evidence that parental engagement benefits children including increasing motivation for learning as well as behaviour outcomes. Schools recognize the importance and impact of working in partnership. But this can be difficult when children present a significant number of challenges. Effective communication can make a difference in these situations. It is of no surprise that the DfE, through the EdTech Strategy, has recognized that technology has an important part to play in parental engagement. The effective use of School Ping, due to its effectiveness and flexibility may be a key tool for schools.
Breaking the cycle of negativity
It can be very difficult to break down the cycle of negativity that often exists when children are either at risk of exclusion or are encountering a difficult stage in their lives. At these times it’s important to look for and find the positives, to create opportunities for success and to meet vulnerable children’s needs. One element of this is ensuring there is plenty of positive feedback and catching children being successful. Informing parents of success is crucial. Research demonstrates that a constant stream of negativity is very debilitating and can ultimately damage the relationship schools work so hard to build.
Easy to use solution that meets parents’ individual needs
Having good, easy to use but effective communication system that allows for contact in an effective and timely manner can be critical. This is where a system such as School Ping can be invaluable. Messages may be sent to individual parents quickly and easily and the excellent news is that such messages may be received in several different ways to suit the recipient. One message sent from the system automatically generates a message through the App, but if this is not downloaded or available to the parent it will also go as an email. Although these are the preferred no-cost options in the cases where families don’t have a Smartphone the message may be received via text. This is a far more effective way of communicating than even the phone call home, that may frequently go unanswered.
Managing workloads whilst building the partnership
There is no default response option for parents receiving a message from School Ping. This means the school can send out positive messages celebrating success without receiving lots of incoming messages (or unsolicited communication). It is essential that parents have some means of responding and SchoolPing can facilitate this. The careful use of forms, and scheduling, means that schools can facilitate parents responding to certain messages Unsurprisingly research shows that the more parents and teachers share relevant information with each other about a student, the better equipped both will be to help that student achieve. We would advise that schools schedule forms to enable parents to periodically respond to the positive information the school is sharing. That way parents can respond and share successes at home too.
None of this replaces or undermines the vitally important face to face meetings that are an essential part of dealing with crises, but the app can significantly enhance communication.