Your school website could be a great tool to improve parental engagement. The most effective way of engaging with parents is with through good communication. Keeping your website up to date on a regular basis with information about activities in school is a great way to get parents engaged. This could include upcoming events that they can get involved with, such as fundraisers, or inviting them into school for awards assemblies. Or simply letting them know about activities in school such as trips and visits or projects that children have been working on. Your website is the ideal way to do this.
What’s happening in school?
To turn your website into an engaging hub for parents consider adding a news section. If you keep this updated parents will regularly revisit the website to see what their children and the rest of the school have been up too. The great thing about a News section is that it is on your website. Whereas social media takes a visitor away from your site a news section keeps them on it. Ideally you would also include a news feed on the home page. This keeps your home page looking fresh, as every-time you post an article the home page will update. It also means parents won’t miss your latest news.
Event calendars are also a good tool to engage parents. You can include any event relevant to parents, be it a parents evenings or the whole school sports day. Keep your events calendar up to date and parents will be more informed and less likely to miss an event. This is also a useful way to show parents when they’re invited to the school for example to attend their child’s assembly or a coffee morning.
Useful information for parents:
Using our years of experience, we can see which areas of a school website are most valuable and useful to parents. Consider adding this information to your website to help your parents:
- Term dates are the most important page for parents. They need to know when school holidays and inset days so they know when their children are in school. It is helpful to have this information on the website page rather than a download or a link to the local authority’s website. Parents are likely to revisit this page often, so make it as easy for them to get the information they need.
- Include names of members of staff in the school, this is always useful information to have. Parents will then know who to ask for when calling the school.
- Have a page about the school day. This can include useful information for parents about school meals (and how to pay for them) and times of the school day.
- Upload your school letters to your website. Although your school may send a hard copy home, it could get lost, misplaced or damaged! Having an archive of letters online is very handy for parents.
- Some schools offer mobile alerts. These are really useful as a notification tool. So parents can receive updates about the school regularly without even having to check.
Value parents feedback
Another way to engage with parents is to let them know that you value their opinion. Make good use of Parent View survey to show parents that their feedback is valued. Parent View gives parents the chance to tell Ofsted what they think about their child’s school. You could also consider having your own feedback form or suggestion box on your website.
You want your website to be a hub of information, not a portal!
Instead of using links or directing you to another website which holds the information or PDF downloads document containing the information – add this content onto your website instead! Including the content on your website page enables quick and easy access to information for visitors.
Perhaps a school newsletter?
School newsletters are a great way to encourage parental engagement. This should contain short descriptions of the highlights of your school term, so that parents can be impressed with the amount of activities and the range of learning. Also include pictures of events, a parent always will love spotting their child featuring in an article. If you need a school newsletter creating, Hive can help. We can also design, print and deliver each issue of your newsletter for you, all you need to do is forward your content. Leave the rest to us. Here’s an example of The Bolton and Farnworth Church of England Primary Multi-Academy Trust Newsletter we recently designed and printed.