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Parents’ Guide to Consultation Meetings

Author: Dawn Barnes Published: 16th October 2009 21:06

At this time of year lots of schools hold their parent teacher consultation meetings and for some parents this can be a daunting prospect especially if their own experience of school has not been the best time of their life.

Here are a few tips to make the whole experience more positive.

The timing of the first of these meetings is usually around the first half term of the academic year. By this time the teacher has had a chance to see how the pupil has settled in, how they react to a new teacher and to gauge how they are progressing with the work that has been set. The pupil has had time to voice their feelings about school to their parent and the parent has seen the pupil establish a homework routine, and is aware of how much help their child has needed with this. All of these points need considering especially if you feel unhappy about how your child has settled in, or if they are unable to complete the work set independently without help from an adult.



Let the teacher know if the conditions for completing Homework are difficult

From a teacher's point of view it is invaluable to know how the child copes with completing work at home, as it indicates whether or not the work is pitched at the right level. It is also important to let the teacher know if the conditions for completing the work in are cramped or noisy as it may be possible for the child to attend a homework club or use a library to complete their work in instead.

Homework clubs can provide space to studyHomework clubs can provide space to study

Meeting Deadlines
Your child's teacher  will also want to know how your child is adjusting to the new academic year. And, especially how they are coping in regard to their organisational skills. Some pupils need a structured plan to help them adjust with new levels of independence, especially those starting secondary school. Given the freedom of coursework some children may find it particularly difficult to cope with meeting deadlines for the work set, so let the teacher know if there are other demands upon the child's time e.g. family responsibilities, sports training, dance classes etc so that if a piece of work is not handed in, in time the teacher is aware of the other pressures the child is subject to.

If you are unable to attend the scheduled meeting because of work commitments ask for a separate appointment time so that the teacher is aware that you are not just being apathetic.

Be prepared
Secondary school meetings can be particularly hard physically for parents as there are so many members of staff to see. So go prepared with your list of appointment times and subject teachers. Be prepared to stand for some time in a queue, and take your own provisions e.g. bottled water - it can get quite hot and stuffy and you don't want to have a dry mouth when you get to the front of it. If you have a list of concerns write them down, that way you won't forget what you wanted to say and you will be concise in your approach which will save everyone time.

Gone are the days when parents sat and listened to the teacher and left without saying a word. The consultation meeting should be a dialogue to which both parents and teachers and in some cases even the pupils contribute in order to promote a true partnership with the school in furthering your child's education. Go along with a sense of purpose and make it a worthwhile visit, and don't to forget to let the teacher know afterwards how things are progressing particularly if you have any ongoing concerns.

Gone are the days when parents sat and listened to the teacher and left without saying a word

An original article by Dawn Barnes.
© Dawn Barnes 2008.
All Rights Reserved.

About the author:
Dawn Barnes is the Director for Kip McGrath Dagenham. The education centre provides structured tuition for pupils from the age of 5 onwards - including adults; providing a positive and welcoming atmosphere in which pupils can progress, regardless of their age or ability.

An assessment can be booked by calling
the centre on 07736711683.
Tuition in other subjects is also available upon request.

This article may be reproduced in printed publications or on the worldwide web in its original form providing the above author and copyright information is left intact.

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