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Robin Gadd at AoC ICT Conference Loughborough 2011 - Reporting To Parents
How to... communicate effectively with Parents/Guardians Robin Gadd Head of Information & Systems Dev
Themes for today• Why communicate?• How to do it effectively and efficiently• Linked to wider business processes – What to share? And what not?• Technology hazards – Identity management• Focus on under 19 year olds• Most important: we’ll see what our parents see
About Brock• Midsize tertiary FE college• Semi-rural Hampshire (New Forest)• c.3200 full time under 19s this year• c.250 under 19 international/overseas learners• Wide geographical catchment area• c.350 FTE staff• Beacon College• Becta Technology Exemplar
The big issue“82% of parents feel left inthe dark when it comes to their childs schooling” Becta 2009
The government responseJim Knight, Minister of State for Schools and Learners,said parents “want to be more involved in theirchildrens education”Target set: Sept 2010, all secondary schools reportingonline (primary by 2012) DCSF Jan 2010: ‘A guide to the law for school governors’
The response• the Inspection Framework (for schools – 0-19 age) from September 2009 included these expectations: – The effectiveness with which the school communicates with all parents and carers, including those who may be reluctant or unsure about approaching the school, such as mothers and fathers not living with their children, those accessing additional services and those whose children have special educational needs and/or disabilities – The frequency and quality of the school’s communications with parents and carers regarding the achievement, well- being and development of their children – The mechanisms for helping parents to support their children’s learning
So why should FE communicate with parents?• Discuss… – Is FE different to schools?
Why do we communicate with parents at Brock?• To share general information: – About what’s on: snow closures, parents evening reminders etc – With multiple parents (rather than a single house address)• To monitor: – Progress, attainment and behaviour – Unexplained/ unauthorised absences (EMA -> Bursary)• To enable parents to share in support, including: – Engagement in their children’s learning – Recognising achievements so far, understanding current targets and helping learners achieve them – Enabling dialogue – Making better use of limited face-to-face time – When and where they please• But without adding unreasonably to workload of teachers, by: – Integrating existing on-going assessment mechanisms into online channel – Ensuring efficient capture and sharing of information; not creating new information just for parents – Maybe fewer routine interruptions in the office too for simple information needs!
All of the above is integrateddirectly with “Emily” (our student support system) and has been available for parents since 2006. (we’re not creating new information exclusively for parents)
Except…• The Emily “Contact Log” – A staff tool for recording contacts with students and/or parents – sharing knowledge – But careful guidelines about appropriate content (since could be subject to DPA/FOI requests)
Effectiveness (done efficiently)Ofsted said (in 2008): “Communication withparents is excellent and a parental portal is available on the college intranet.” Cashable savings? (not the reason we did it!) Value for Money!
Simple, efficient tech architecture Populate from MIS
Key technical hazard• Security – User account control: to AD or not to AD? – How to associate parents with children? – You could end up employing somebody just to manage account creation, forgotten passwords etc!
So what else do we communicate? Our latest developments… (and this is about saving money!)
Efficiency (done effectively!)• A modern way to interact with Brock – Perception matters! – Anytime to suit you!• Reducing the admin burden – Saving real money on the temp bill• Better MI – Up to date – Better cashflow and debt management!
What do parents think? “I understand using the internet is free however I am sure Iam not the only parent who prefers the personal touch - e.g. letters.” “Since I am not residing in the UK, it would help parents overseas if the highlights of the parents meeting can beuploaded onto the parents portal for us to view when ready.”“I email staff and the portal makes this easy. Response time is very good and this is more helpful than trying to phone anyone at college.” “I have found it a little frustrating when looking at my sons attendance on the parents portal that tutors dont always mark the register on the day.”
Summary• Communicating with parents effectively is good for students and their progress• Re-purposing the information we already have is cost effective and quick• A modern communications infrastructure is good for wider reputation• A means to save money too! THANK YOU!