Why is Parental Engagement so Important to the Learning of children with special educational needs?

By Natasha Gibbs - 12 Dec, 2018
5 Minutes Read

The SEN Code of Practice states that parents hold key information and have a crucial role to play in their children’s education.

They have unique strengths, knowledge and experience to contribute to the shared view of a child’s needs and the best ways of supporting them. It is therefore vital that all professionals (schools, LEAs and other agencies) actively seek to work with parents and value the contribution they make.


Parental engagement makes things more effective

The work of schools and professionals can be more effective when parents are involved, and account is taken of their wishes, feelings and perspectives on their children’s development. This is even more important when a child has special educational needs.

Communication between the school SENCo., class teacher and parent can often be a challenge, with information being lost, misinterpreted or simply not passed on. By using SchoolPing messaging, you can ensure that everyone is receiving the same information which improves communication enormously.


How can schools help to engage these parents?

Parents of children with special educational needs (SEN) can often be hard to engage. They may have had a negative experience of school themselves, or may feel overwhelmed about the extra support their child needs to be able to succeed. In extreme cases they may even feel their child will be a burden to the school and lack confidence in what the school can offer to help their child to thrive.

SchoolPing can be used by the class teachers and SENCo. to develop relationships with parents and make them feel involved in their children’s learning.


Don’t forgot the power of sending positive messages

Often, parents of SEN children only hear that their child is academically below age related expectations and that they are struggling. If the additional need is behavioural, the parent might only hear about the negative behaviour their children display. These negative messages can damage the trust the parent feels towards the school and they can become disengaged from the school and not want to be contacted by staff at all, which is then detrimental to supporting the learning of that child.

However, by committing to share positive messages about their children, the parents will start to feel that their children are making progress and succeeding. By sending frequent messages via SchoolPing to tell the parent about what their child achieved that day (maybe with examples of their great work attached to the message), the parents begin to trust that the staff are working hard to help their child to succeed.


Send important documents

By using SchoolPing to send Individual Education Plans (IEPs) to parents, it means that they are able to access this document whenever and wherever they want. Paper copies, which may be misplaced and lost, can be replaced by digital copies through attaching them as a PDF file to a SchoolPing message. Other specialist reports can also be sent via a SchoolPing message which allows for parents to have a full and complete understanding of the strategies in place to help their children in school. These documents can also be sent to the class teacher, which further enhances communication between SENCO., parent and class teacher.

Behaviour charts can also be shared via SchoolPing, leading to additional consistency between school and home. Documents containing pre and post-learning tasks can also be shared so that the parent is able to help consolidate and reinforce learning at home if they wish.


Messaging parents outside of school hours

Whilst this might seem undesirable, being able to send and schedule messages to be sent to parents outside of school hours can actually have many benefits. For SEN children who struggle with change, being able to message a parent to say that the class teacher is away and that there will be a supply teacher in class that day, can be hugely valuable as it gives the parent time to prepare the child ahead of time to ease and manage their anxiety.


Using the online parents’ evening booking system

By giving the SENCo. the ability to create and manage their own parents’ evening bookings on SchoolPing, it means that they are able to quickly and efficiently communicate with all the parents of the SEN children in the school to organise parents’ evening meetings with them, saving valuable time.

The ability to allow parents to write a comment at the time of booking their parents’ evening appointment is a useful feature, meaning that they can notify the SENCo. of any specific worries or concerns before the meeting, allowing for the SENCo. to gather information from the class teacher (or other staff) beforehand.


How can SchoolPing help with your school SENCo. communications?

SchoolPing is a communication app, which revolutionises the way schools communicate both with parents and internally. With unlimited messages and the ability to send videos, photos, attachments and more, it has never been so easy to engage parents.

For more information about how you could use SchoolPing to manage parent comms, staff comms, parents evening, permission forms and payments – contact us.

Author: Natasha Gibbs

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