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How can boarding schools best communicate with parents?

Vincent Paget

May 21, 2019

While the main focus of every school is the well-being and academic achievement of their students, they have to remember that parents are the paying customer. This means schools must balance the needs of their pupils with parent satisfaction.Ensuring parents feel well-informed and valued is a continuous balancing act that involves providing enough information, without bombarding their inboxes every day and risking important documents going unread.How can boarding schools best manage their parent communications while also prioritising student care?

The types of parents boarding staff face

'Helicopter parents', so-called for their tendency to hover over their children and over-assist, require a much higher level of communication than others. They may want to be involved in all friendship disputes, as well as talk to staff when their child is not picked for sports teams or competitions. Helicopter parents may also want to be fully consulted on class changes, academic results and any other learning-related events. One difficulty schools face when trying to understand the best way to communicate with their parents is that each parent is different. Some parents are keen to know about every aspect of their child's day, while others want to keep up with headline events and complete as little paperwork as necessary.At the other end of the scale, some parents send their children to boarding school specifically because they don't have time to manage the day-to-day, or they want their son or daughter to learn to be independent. These types of parents do not want to receive alerts every time something happens at school, because they expect boarding house staff to be able to deal with whatever their children are facing.Schools must find a way to satisfy all types of parents, without having to create alternative working methods for different groups.

Be transparent and accessible

One way to ensure parents feel they have access to all the information they need is to create a culture of transparency. When parents know how to access the information they need, or when they can expect to receive updates, they have no need to contact staff directly on a regular basis.Providing a mobile app or other cloud-based system gives parents a way to see what has been happening according to their own schedule. Making it easy for parents to be involved whenever they choose means those that want regular updates can check-in every day. Meanwhile, those who only want to know when something significant happens can wait for a notification or check on a semi-regular basis.A mobile app provides parents with one single source for crucial information, such as their child's well-being and whereabouts. Parents who want to be more involved in the daily life of the school can also check other types of communication platforms, such as social media for more fun updates - like photos of trips.Transparent and accessible communication methods keep parents easily satisfied without requiring extra staff resource.

Parent using a school mobile app on their own schedule.
By providing access to crucial information on a mobile app, schools allow parents to connect on their own schedule.

Connect with parents in Boardingware

With the Boardingware app, parents can see important information straight away. They can check their contact information, see weekend leave requests and look at which events their child is attending.Should parents have a question about their children's leave request, they can contact staff directly via the app, without having to trawl through their inbox to keep up. Should something important occur, they can opt to receive notifications so they don't have to keep checking in.To find out more about how Boardingware can build your parent communication strategy, check our free demo video or talk to an expert.

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Vincent Paget

Vincent Paget is an Operations Manager at Orah based in Auckland, New Zealand. He loves technology, organisation, nature and adventure sports, not necessarily in that order.

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