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Behaviour Support for Schools

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September 2015: Three steps to building parental support.

When a child is behaving inappropriately, one of the biggest factors that decides whether a programme of intervention succeeds or fails is sustained parental support. Any long-term support from parents has to be earned, not left to form by chance.



September is the month when you should be actively developing relationships with parents (because you'll need them later!) Here are some sure-fire techniques to make your parental approval ratings soar.

Plan a positive first contact with every single family


How do you achieve this? Simple. Take a copy of your class register. Within the first two weeks, aim to invite the parents of every single child into the classroom at the end of the day. Don't panic - this is not for a full, parental conference - only to share a good piece of work their child has produced, or discuss a positive piece of behaviour you’ve observed. You’re only aiming to spend a minute or so per child.



Highlight the names of the children when the meetings are over. Don’t follow the class list in a random order – prioritise. There are two classes of relationship that you'll need to build as early as possible: parents of children who have behavioural needs, and parents who wield influence in the world of playground politics.



Here's why:

  • For some children, their behaviour means you are likely to be meeting their parents with some negative news fairly early on. Prioritising those children now ensures the first parental meeting has a positive focus.
  • September is the time to make sure good messages about your teaching are being shared on the playground. By inviting in parents who are well respected and listened to, you are making sure those messages get out early.


Maintain contact


Now you’ve made that important first contact, keep the flow of communication running. Why?


  • Because psychology tells us that we are more likely to engage with someone who gives us positive messages about our children (and, by implication, our parenting) in the past.

This doesn’t mean you have to continue meeting with every parent in person. Plan to send home a positive communication on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday about one child’s work or behaviour. This could be through a well done card given to the child at the end of the day, a direct email, or a message through the school’s texting system.

I'm proud of...


At the end of each day, ask every child in class to name one thing they have done they are proud of. If the child struggles, tell them something you think they did well. Here's why:


  • At the end of the day, most parents will ask their children what they did at school today. Many children then peer into the middle distance as they struggle to remember a single detail. Your class won't: you gave them the answer 30 seconds before they walked out the door.

Staff meeting activity


Here is a 15 minute activity you could deliver during a staff meeting. This activity would be most effectively delivered soon after the children return from their holiday in September. At the end of the meeting, staff will have formulated a strategy to improve parental engagement. Before the activity, decide whether you would like them to adopt the same approach across the whole school, or if a different approach for each key stage / year group is more appropriate. To use this activity, download a PDF version of the newsletter, using the links at the bottom of the page.

Requirements


You will need the following materials:


  • Copies of page 1 of the newsletter (download the PDF version of the newsletter below).
  • Large pieces of paper (A3 / A2).
  • Pens.
  • A computer with an internet connection and an interactive whiteboard or projector (optional)

The activity


  • Explain that your staff meeting behaviour focus will be looking at improving relationships with parents - because these will be key when it comes to managing behaviour across the school. Ask the staff to give you as many reasons as possible how a good/bad parental relationship influences the behaviour of your pupils.
  • Divide your staff into small groups and give each one a large piece of paper and pens. Each group has five minutes to work out three ways in which they could improve parental relationships within the month.
  • When they have finished, tell the staff that they are going to listen to each other's feedback. Tell them that they are going to implement one of the strategies (it can be an idea from any of the groups, not necessarily theirs).
  • Get each group to feed back their three strategies for improving parental engagement.
  • Depending on whether you wanted staff to take a whole school approach, or follow this up in key stage / year groups, get them to briefly discuss which strategy could be quickly and effectively implemented in the appropriate groupings. Get them to set deadlines for when actions will be completed.
  • Now distribute the newsletter and share the ideas it explores. Alternatively, visit our YouTube channel and play the video that accompanies this newsletter.


Now put up copies of the first page of the newsletter on display in the staffroom, so staff members can refer to them at a later date.




Downloads


Don't print this page! We've produced a much more attractive version for printing and sharing. Use the links below to download a copy of the newsletter in PDF format, and use this for print and distribute the information to your staff.




PDF version of newsletter (colour)




PDF version of newsletter (black and white)




Our YouTube channel