Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

How to Get Parents Onside

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

How to Get Parents Onside

Article excerpt

At the start of a new school year, the founder of Mumsnet offers some advice to help teachers get off on the right foot with parents

The autumn term (or, as many children - and a few excitable adults - tend to refer to it, "the Christmas term") is here: nearly four full months of toil and industry for teachers and pupils alike, culminating in school days that begin and end in darkness as everyone limps towards the glitter-strewn finish line.

For parents whose children are at primary school, the early weeks are marked by curiosity about the new class teacher: will this one overlook a bit of slackness when it comes to signing the reading record? Will they be driven to distraction by your child's tendency to forget their PE kit? Will they forge a connection with your child, or will they have completely forgotten each other in 10 years' time?

And then there's always the nightmare scenario: will they not be able to stand the sight of each other?

Looking at conversations on Mumsnet over the years about the "new teacher", there seem to be a few nailed-on dos and don'ts for school staff when it comes to getting parents onside in the early weeks - so here are our tips for making a good impression.

Names: parents understand that teachers aren't going to have 30 names down pat within days, especially if four of them are variants of "Sophie". Most parents will, however, be ticked off if you unilaterally adopt a shortened version of a child's name, or if a name is still escaping you altogether after a couple of weeks. …

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