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Teachers vs Parents

April 12th 2024

Does school communication sometimes feel a bit like a battle? Whether you’re working in a school trying to make sure parents have all the information they need, or on the receiving end of constant messages from your child’s school, it can sometimes feel more frustrating than we might like to admit.

Think about it: schools communicate with parents almost every single day. On one hand, there’s simply a lot to say, and most of this information is really useful and important. On the other hand, parents are often under a lot of pressure to think about everything at once and make quick decisions, so you can understand how frequent texts, notifications and emails can easily become overwhelming.

How to avoid overwhelming parents

Ideally, your school communications strategy should be much more collaborative. When you create a cycle of good quality communication, it starts to feel like teachers, school staff, parents and carers are all working together rather than against each other.

Here are a few easy shortcuts that can strengthen your school communications and help build up a healthier dynamic between school and home.

1. Master multiple channels

Having several different ways of contacting home is great, but you shouldn’t be using multiple channels to blast parents with the same messages repeatedly.

Instead, choose the best channel for the type of message, taking into consideration how much you need to say. For example, if you’re writing a text message with so many characters it gets split into three parts, it might be more effective to send as an email, with a short text that gets straight to the point and directs parents to their email inbox for further details.

Reminders about school payments also work well as text messages, because you can be very specific about the action that needs to be taken while keeping the message short. For example, for school admins reviewing overdue payments in SchoolMoney, prompting parents with a text just takes one click.

2. Use urgency with caution

The ability to easily reach parents through their smartphones at any time is great for schools in theory, especially in a genuine emergency situation. However, the anxiety for parents of constantly having to check their phones can lead to some resentment, and your audience may become less receptive to your messages.

Urgency should only be used in your messages when it’s really necessary to help parents prioritise and process all the information you’re giving them. To use a very literal example, it might seem like a good idea to write “URGENT” in the subject line of an email, but if parents regularly open these emails and realise the content wasn’t really that urgent, they have a greater chance of ignoring your message for longer the next time you send something similar.

3. Keep everyone in the loop

Another factor to consider is whether you send your message to multiple contacts per student, which may or may not be necessary depending on the context. For example, if you have two parents’ contact details but tend to send most of your messages to only the primary contact, that’s a lot of pressure to put on one parent to remember everything!

To help avoid this stressful scenario, it might be a good idea to send notifications to multiple contacts for things involving upcoming deadlines and calendar events. Examples might include parents’ evening reminders or non-uniform days (especially if there are costumes to prepare!).

4. Make sure parents feel heard

Another common cause of frustration for parents is not being able to easily get in touch with the right person at your school when they need to. It can feel a little one-sided when schools have so many ways to send messages out, but parents don’t feel able to do the same.

To help with this, it’s vital to consider the two-way flow of information. How do you handle replies from parents who might have questions or need to provide responses to your requests? A good school communication platform should give you an easy way to view incoming replies and send your own responses, just like a normal text conversation.

5. Use technology to your advantage

Using the right technology can make a huge difference to the level of parental engagement and satisfaction at your school, and that doesn’t mean things have to be complicated. In fact, it’s usually the opposite — sometimes the simplest tips and tricks are the most effective.

For example, in Teachers2Parents, we’ve focused on making everyday processes as quick and easy as possible for busy school staff to communicate effectively with families. A few of these time-saving shortcuts include the ability to…

  • Send texts, emails and mobile app notifications in seconds from one app
  • Receive replies and send follow-up messages in real time
  • Get instant reports to easily measure your reach and effectiveness
  • Schedule messages to be sent at the most appropriate times
  • Access the full functionality of T2P on desktop, tablet or mobile

To see for yourself how schools are making their communications feel less like “Teachers vs Parents” and more Teachers2Parents, get in touch to request a free demo today.

How can we help you?

Whether you work in a school or trust of any size, a local authority or a technology provider for education, our friendly team are waiting to hear from you.

We’d love to chat about your goals and how we can support you.