No more letters with return slips being sent home to parents – or festering, undelivered, in the bottom of school bags.
Noisy, stuffy school halls packed to the rafters with frazzled parents are fast becoming nightmares of parents’ evenings past.
The transition from in-person to virtual parents’ evenings has evolved since pandemic-induced lockdowns were imposed from March 2020.
It hasn’t involved insurgent rebellion. But, it’s a coup d'etat for schools and families alike, changing the face of the traditional parents’ evening as we knew it irreversibly.
What are the key benefits of 2020s parents’ evenings by video calls?
There’s a sense of finality that there’s no going back, now that video calls have revolutionised parents’ evenings
That’s not a bad thing, considering the massive improvements for school teams and families as a direct result of the online shift; improvements such as:
1) Convenience and customisation
Parents with the best will and intention can struggle to make it to parents’ evenings when they’re already busy to capacity, juggling work and childcare.
Video calls have put them in control of tailoring parents’ evenings to suit their needs, rather than the other way around.
They can log in for their appointments with teachers from the comfort of their own homes or even from a different time zone if they’re working away from home.
In addition, video calls are less stressful than in-person parents’ evenings for blended and/or separated families going through difficult times. There isn’t even a need for them to be in the same room.
2) Confidentiality and Flexibility
Being completely honest, we wouldn’t always describe traditional parents’ evenings as slick affairs, would we?
Remember the queues forming for some teachers but not others?
And, parents unintentionally – or intentionally – interrupting meetings taking place between teachers and other parents.
Not to mention the lack of privacy when a meeting between a teacher and parents at one table can be overheard by those at the next table.
It could be stodgy at best. And, challenging and tense at worst.
Relaxed video calls – where teachers and parents are both in their home environments – eliminate the ‘lumpiness’ caused by interruptions, by latecomers, by being in earshot of other people and by the general discomfort of a sweaty school hall.
Additionally, the option to record video calls is a massive benefit for any family members who can’t make the parents’ evening. Recordings are also useful for parents who aren’t native English speakers and need to watch the meeting back.
3) Make sure you actually reach parents
Let’s be honest, not every student looks forward to parents’ evening. Leaving it to them to book their own appointments with teachers can result in a rather lopsided schedule for the evening (‘Are you sure your science teacher didn’t have any slots free to talk to us? And do we have to meet all four PE teachers?’).
And that’s if the information actually makes it to the parent. Just like other key communications from school, how many end up forgotten on a scrunched-up piece of paper at the bottom of a student’s bag?
An online booking system allows parents to take control and schedule an evening that suits them.
What's more, most schools report that attendance at parents' evenings increases when they use an online booking system combined with video calls. It's particularly good for hard-to-reach families who may have good reasons for not coming to an event in school - from physical access and disability, to other caring commitments, transport issues and even the fear of going back into a school if they had bad experiences in their own school days. Video calls offer safety and reassurance that could otherwise be lacking.
How easy is it to arrange video calls for remote parents’ evenings?
Well-organised and polished online parents’ evenings are super quick and easy to arrange with an outstanding school app like Weduc. It provides everything schools need to communicate with parents and set up and deliver their appointments.
It’s simply a matter of having the right automated functionalities in your armoury, including:
- Scheduling of teacher availability times, with the ability to add breaks.
- Online booking, amendment and cancellation self-service options for parents to select their preferred time slots from the calendars of teachers they need to speak to.
Reminders for late responding parents to confirm or decline their participation and book their slots with teachers.
Confirmations notifications as soon as parents book their slots with teachers and reminders of from-to times before meetings are due to take place.
Allow teachers to make notes in real time, on the evening.
- Video appointments when needed, with the ability to switch to in-person parents' evening too.
- Reporting so that the school can analyse popular times slots and attendance, as well as easily follow-up on families who didn't attend.
At Weduc, we’re genuinely excited about helping schools and colleges transition seamlessly to remote parents’ evening that are more engaging, with less pre-notified absences and less no-shows on night.
The Weduc Parents Evening module is powered by SchoolCloud and is in addition to the many core features of Weduc, such as school communications, home learning and online payments.
Video calls are efficient. They’re what parents have become accustomed to over the past 1.5 years in most other aspects of their personal and professional lives. They’re expected of you now.
Call us on 01509 221 349.
Or simply click here and find out how you could receive a free 12 month subscription to the Weduc Parents' Evening Booking System in September 2021. One of our representatives will be in touch to run through your current systems, your needs, and to arrange a demonstration.