Keeping in touch with school

acd resource learning together 48

The basics of a positive partnership with staff at your child’s school is the same as for any other relationship: mutual respect, listening skills, empathy and good communication.

On this page:

Many ways to communicate

There are many ways to keep in touch with your child’s teachers and other school staff, including formal methods like regular Student Support Group meetings and parent-teacher interviews.

Less formal methods can include chats with the teacher, email contact or a communication book or using tools like an iPad or iPod that travel from home to school and back again. This type of communication is important for all students, but particularly those with limited speech:

Schools can use any of these methods to tell families about events such as sports days or excursions, learning themes for the term, to flag minor issues that might have arisen for your child, or to give positive feedback about something your child has achieved. Talk to your child’s school about what type of communication suits you both.

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Let school know what’s been happening at home

It’s also helpful to let teachers know if there are lots of changes happening at home that might affect your child at school, such as moving house, a new baby, a family illness or a parental separation. Also let the school know if you see evidence at home that your child might be struggling at school:

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Negotiate the level of information-sharing you want

Sometimes schools make only occasional or perfunctory use of a student’s communication book or other tools for communicating with families. If you would like the school to tell you more, talk to their teacher or other staff about the type and level of information you would like them to convey to you.

You might feel that your child’s teacher or other staff are overly reluctant to let you know when things are difficult for your child at school. For Limor, knowing that the school would let her know if her son was struggling was critical, especially as he was settling into school:

After your child settles into school, you might expect to be contacted a lot less. And indeed, if the school is still calling you for advice or assistance after that initial settling in period, that might indicate that the school does not have a good understanding of your child’s needs, or how to support him. This became a major problem for Marie:

It is important to discuss with the staff what level of communication would be welcome and useful to you both, perhaps at your child’s Student Support Group meeting early in the year. And if you are concerned about the level of communication from school, you should feel confident to raise your concern:

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If you need an interpreter

If you need an interpreter, the school should provide one for every important meeting with you. The school can also use telephone interpreters for other communication. This is an important issue to discuss at a Student Support Group meeting.

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