Virtual parents’ evenings

Overview

Virtual parents’ evenings seem to be becoming more popular due to the social distancing measures which schools must have in place. There will likely be the requirement as part of your role to attend parents evenings, even as part of a new virtual format. 

State funded schools must provide at least one opportunity per year for parents to discuss their child’s progress with a teacher. This requirement is set out in Regulation 6 of The Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005.

In this article, we look at how different types of schools are adapting to holding virtual parents’ evenings.

Virtual parents’ evenings: what are different schools doing?

Letter to parents

Clarendon Academy in Wiltshire has written to parents outlining how its virtual parents’ evenings are structured. It explains:

“We will be hosting a Virtual Parents’ Evening over 2 evenings, from 3.30-7.00pm. All we ask is that you book a 10 minute appointment to speak to our tutors. If you prefer not to have a video call, please leave an up-to-date phone number we can contact you on. Once your booking has been made, we will send you an email inviting you to join a Microsoft Teams meeting.”

It explains that form tutors will be able to provide parents with an update on their child’s attendance, attainment and progress in every subject, using feedback from their teachers.

Protocol for virtual parents’ evenings

The Cotswold School in Gloucestershire has published a protocol for virtual parents’ evenings. The following pointers are required for parents to consider:

  • The first 30 seconds of each conversation allows for a short break for the teacher who will initiate the conversation at some point when they are ready during this time
  • Both teachers and parents have the choice of using audio or video  
  • As in real life, your son/daughter is welcome to attend
  • If you are using a device with eg FaceTime or WhatsApp to enable both parents from different households to attend simultaneously please flag this up to the teacher as a matter of courtesy at the start of the conversation
  • All participants should be appropriately attired as they would be for a real life face to face meeting
  • Conversations should take place in appropriate rooms eg kitchen, lounge, study and not in a bedroom
  • In the extremely unlikely event of verbal abuse, staff will end the conversation and refer the matter to the Senior Leadership Team.

Use of SchoolCloud for virtual parents’ evenings

Lady Manners School in Derbyshire uses an online system (SchoolCloud) to enable parents/carers and their child’s teachers to meet via a virtual parents’ evening system. It explains:

“Ten minutes before the first appointment, parents/carers should click the login link from the bottom of the email confirmation they will have received when they booked the appointments. The appointments will be listed, together with a button to join the video appointment.

Each video appointment is five minutes in length. There will be a countdown clearly visible and the software terminates the video after five minutes.”

Further support

If you are an Edapt subscriber and you have been alleged of misconduct during an virtual parents’ evening you can contact us for further advice and support.

We have also published another article on the topic of dealing with difficult parents and what to do if they post comments about you on social media.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
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