Thank you for all the work and planning that you are undertaking in preparation for Parents’/Carers’ meetings this term. The Link Officers have been impressed by many of the innovative ways that communications between schools and parents and carers are being safely maintained and developed currently, during these challenging times.
Please be reassured that we do understand the pressures you may be facing to provide some kind of meeting this term and particularly in the light of the additional limitations presented by COVID risk management. In order to reassure you and your school community, it is worth reminding ourselves of the key purpose of Autumn Parents’ meetings. At this point of the academic year, it is timely to provide an overview for parents and carers to confirm how children have settled into routines, how friendships are developing and to see the learning environment as well as what the themes and attainment priorities ‘of the moment’ are. Parents and carers are understandably concerned about COVID safety in addition to the traditional worries that such evenings can eliminate. Therefore, the expectations of schools and indeed parents and carers regarding the traditional format for meetings this term are potentially overwhelming for all concerned and causing unnecessary additional burdens on top of the current management challenges involved in keeping children and staff safe and well.
Therefore we currently advise that it is sufficient to provide a short class video clip, for parents and carers, to show them the learning environment and introduce them to the teacher and key staff for their child. Some best examples of this are clips that are pupil-led and ‘hosted’ by class teachers or support staff, outlining the new COVID routines, planned studies and how parents and carers can support with reading and homework etc.
As a secondary offer, parents and carers may then be offered telephone appointments and/or Teams Meetings if necessary. These should not be on a one-to-one basis.
We appreciate that all schools’ circumstances and contexts are unique and there is a place for providing telephone calls, ‘virtual’ drop-ins and even socially distanced, multi-agency meetings on occasion for vulnerable children. However it is not appropriate at present for these arrangements to be put in place for all children and their parents or carers.
Thank you for your dedication and commitment to ensure that close and manageable communication is maintained between your families and schools through these difficult times.