Language always come up in our training when talking about barriers to getting more involved. Not feeling able to talk to teachers or feeling nervous and worried about saying the wrong thing can make any contact with school stressful. In a recent session we did with deaf parents they highlighted that many parents would avoid them as they couldn’t use sign language. Missing out on the playground gossip that parents share can make these parents feel very isolated. We’ve recently heard a lot of stories of children being taken to school without Halloween costumes as parents weren’t aware that their children could dress up- this is really embarrassing for both parents and children and emphasises that they aren’t a part of the school community.
However more schools are starting to use texts to parents to remind them about important things (from in-service days to book fairs), much easier for parents to read than long letters and more likely to reach parents than school letters that can be left in school bags and forgotten. To help parents become more involved in the school it’s useful to have activities that everyone can get involved in. Oakgrove primary school in Glasgow recently needed help putting sand in their new sandpits and sent a text out to all parents asking for help. This was a simple activity that almost any parent could get involved in (Oakgrove is a very diverse school with over thirty languages spoken) and was just asking parents to help for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning. Almost sixty parents along with their families came along to help- creating a real sense of the school community as well as getting the sandpits ready in no time. Could your school use parents in this way?