Glenahulla National School

Parent / Teacher

Communication

Policy

 

 

Introductory statement

This policy was developed by the staff of Glenahulla National School in consultation with the Board of Management and the parents in January 2016. Its purpose is to provide information and guidelines to parents and teachers on parent/teacher meetings and parent/teacher communication in Glenahulla National School. The family and home are central to the development of the child and the nurturing of Christian values. The school and the family strive to be mutually supportive and respectful of each other so that the child’s education can be effective.

 

Parents are encouraged to:

  • Develop close links with the school.
  • Participate in meetings in a positive and respectful manner, affirming the professional role of the staff and all staff members in the school
  • Collaborate with the school in developing the full potential of their children.
  • Share the responsibility of seeing that the school remains true to its ethos values and distinctive character.
  • Become actively involved in the school / Parent’s Association.
  • Participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting them.

 

Structures in place to facilitate open communication & consultation with Parents

  • Meeting for parents of new Junior Infants – mid June.
  • Formal Parent/teacher meetings one-to-one in November / December.
  • Parents receive school report of each pupil at the end of each school year.
  • Meetings with parents whose children have special needs.
  • Consultation throughout the year.
  • Written communication.
  • School website : glenahullans.com
  • School Facebook page
  • School e-mail : glenahullans.ias@eircom.net
  • Newsletters
  • Through the Parent’s Association, parents are invited to discuss and contribute to the drafting and review of school policies. Decisions taken to change current policies and procedures or to introduce new ones will be made known to all parents in written format
  • Regular letters/Textaparent keep parents up-to-date with school events, holidays and school concerns.
  • Home work journal 1st – 6th class, used to relay messages which are signed between parents and teachers. Parents requested to sign journal each night to certify that homework has been completed.
  • Homework folders (Junior and Senior Infants)
  • Parents are invited to school masses and school concerts.
  • Involvement of parents in the Religion Alive O Programme and the “Grow in Love Programme” section for parents, RSE, Stay Safe Programmes

 

Telephone Communication

Answering the telephone during the school day takes from valuable teaching time. Therefore, during class time, an answering machine system is in place. Messages are checked regularly during the school day.

Parents are encouraged to write any notices for teachers in the school journal, where possible.

Communication about Wellbeing

It is vital that the school is immediately informed if family events/situations occur that cause anxiety to your child and therefore may adversely affect his/her education

In all matters pertaining to the wellbeing and education of pupils, only the legal guardians will be consulted by the staff.

 

Parent/Teacher Meetings

Formal Parent/Teacher meetings will be held once a year for all classes (Circular 14/04), usually in November / December. However, if a parent wishes to arrange a meeting at any stage during the year to discuss their child, they may do so by prior appointment.

 

Formal Parent/Teacher meetings will be initiated by the school staff and details regarding time, etc. will be worked out by the class teacher, in consultation with parents. The school will attempt to co-ordinate times where siblings are concerned.

 

If deemed necessary by the teacher, another teacher and/or the Principal,  may be present during formal / informal meetings.

 

  • All communication sent from the school will be sent to the child’s home address as given on the enrolment form, unless otherwise requested by parents.
  • In the case of separated parents, requests can be made by both legal guardians to meet their child’s teacher(s) individually for parent/teacher meetings
  • requests can be made by parents to meet support teachers / resource teachers where appropriate

 

Meetings may take place in classrooms, support rooms or communally in the PE Hall. The teachers use prepared guidelines for the meetings and collaborate in advance about the progress of individual children. A short written record of the meeting is maintained by each teacher.

The aim of Parent/Teacher meetings is:

 

  • To let parents know how their children are progressing in school.
  • To inform teachers on how children are coping outside school.
  • To establish an ongoing relationship and maintain good communication with parents.
  • To help teachers/parents get to know the children better as individuals.
  • To help children realise that home and school are working together.
  • To inform the parents of standardised test results according to school policy.
  • To identify ways in which parents can help their children
  • To learn more about parental opinions on what the school is doing
  • To review with the parent the child’s experience of schooling
  • To learn more about the child from the parent’s perspective
  • To meet demands for accountability

 

Reporting to Parents

Parents have the primary responsibility for their children’s learning and development. Schools can strengthen the capacity of parents to support their children in this way by sharing meaningful information with parents about the progress that children are achieving in the education system. This information needs to draw on the different sources of evidence that staffs use, such as conversations with the learner, data-collection and documented progress on objectives and milestones reached in their short and long-term planning, examination of students’ own self-assessment data, documented observations of the learner’s engagement with tasks, outcomes of other assessment tasks and tests, and examples of students’ work. In turn, parents will often be able to enrich staffs knowledge of their students’ progress through providing further information about the students’ learning at home.

 

Report Card Templates

Schools should help parents to understand fully the evidence of learning that the school reports to them, especially information from any standardised tests. The NCCA has provided a range of standard report templates to assist schools in reporting information about the progress of primary pupils to parents, including information from standardised tests. The NCCA report card templates were developed through a process of consultation with schools and parents can take account of research commissioned by the NCCA.

The report cards provide for reporting in four key areas:

  • The child’s learning and achievement across the curriculum
  • The child’s learning dispositions
  • The child’s social and personal development
  • Ways in which parents can support their child’s learning

 

All primary schools must use one of the report card templates (available at www.ncca.ie) for reporting to parents on students’ progress and achievement at school with effect from the date of this circular.

 

An end of year report will be sent home for every child.

 

Special Education Needs

Formal Meetings-IEPs

Formal timetabled parent/staff meetings on the subject of the Individual Education Plan will take place in September/October. However, if a parent wishes to arrange a meeting at any stage during the year to discuss their child, they may do so by prior appointment.

 

Informal Parent/Teacher Meetings

 

  1. Communication between parents and teachers is very much encouraged.

 

  1. Arranging parent/teacher meetings within the school day while children are in school is difficult. However, parents are welcome to speak to the Principal or teacher(s) at an appointed time.

 

  1. Meetings with the class teacher at the class door to discuss a child’s concern/progress is discouraged on a number of grounds.

 

  1. A teacher cannot adequately supervise his/her class while at the same time speaking to a parent.
  2. It is difficult to be discrete when so many children are standing close by.
  3. It can be embarrassing for a child when his/her parent is talking to the teacher at a classroom door.

 

If parents wish to drop in lunch boxes, sports gear etc, this can be done through the secretary’s office as it is important to keep class interruptions to a minimum.

 

Occasions occur where a parent needs to speak to a teacher urgently. Sometimes these meetings need to take place without prior notice. The Principal will facilitate such meetings making every effort to ensure that the children in the class do not lose out on any of the teaching/learning time.

 

Grievance Procedure

Complaints are infrequent but the school would wish that these would be dealt with informally, fairly and quickly.  The following is the agreed complaints procedure by CPSMA and INTO to be followed in primary schools:

 

Stage 1 – informal stage

  1. A parent/guardian who wishes to make a complaint should, firstly approach the class teacher with a view to resolving the complaint.
  2. Where the parent/guardian is unable to resolve the complaint with the class teacher he/she should approach the Principal teacher with a view to resolving it.
  3. If the complaint is still unresolved, the parent/guardian should raise the matter with the Chairperson of the Board of Management with a view to resolving it.

 

Stage 2 – formal stage

  1. If the complaint is still unresolved and the parent/guardian wishes to pursue the matter further, he/she should lodge the complaint in writing with the Chairperson of the Board of Management.

 

  1. The Chairperson will bring the precise nature of the written complaint to the notice of the staff member and seek to resolve the matter between the parties within 5 days of receipt of the written complaint.

 

Stage 3

  1. If the complaint is not resolved informally, the Chairperson should, subject to the authorisation of the Board:

 

  1. supply the staff member with a copy of the written complaint and
  2. arrange a meeting with the teacher, and where applicable, the Principal, with a view to resolving the complaint. Such a meeting should take place within 10 days of receipt of the written complaint.

 

Stage 4

  1. If the complaint is still not resolved, the Chairperson should make a formal report to the board within 10 days of the meeting.
  2. If the Board considers that the complaint is not substantiated, the teacher and the complainant should be so informed within 3 days of the Board meeting.
  3. If the Board considers that the complaint is substantiated or that it warrants further investigation, the following steps should be followed:

 

  1. The staff member should be supplied with copies of any written evidence in support of the complaint.
  2. He/she should be requested to supply a written response to the complaint to the Board and should be afforded an opportunity to make a presentation to the Board and to be accompanied by another person to that meeting.
  3. The Board may arrange a meeting with the complainant, who may be accompanied by another person to this meeting.

 

Stage 5

  1. Following the Board’s investigations, the Chairperson shall convey the decision of the Board in writing to the teacher and the complainant within 5 days of the meeting of the Board. The decision of the Board shall be final.

 

Behaviour of all Stakeholders in the School

Positive and respectful communication is of high importance to our school. This not only extends to the children but to all of the stakeholders e.g. the staff, parents and the wider community.  Anyone entering our building should feel safe to do so. While the behaviour of children in our school is of vital importance, adults in the school community also have a responsibility to ensure their own behaviour models the types of behaviour expected of children.

 

It is important that all stakeholders are responsible for their own behaviours in the school.  Examples include:

 

  • All stakeholders will treat each other with the utmost respect at all times.
  • All stakeholders are expected to speak to each other with respect.  Shouting or other aggressive tones are not acceptable. It is acknowledged that teachers have to raise their voices from time to time to gain children’s attention.
  • If a stakeholder displays anger or aggression to another member of the school community, they may be asked to remove themselves from the building.  In certain cases, the Gardaí must be called. The BOM will decide on any further course of action.
  • Members of staff should not be asked to speak about another parent’s child. The staff of the school will respect every child’s right to privacy so it is asked that parents respect other children’s rights to privacy. Equally, parents are asked not to make comments about teachers or openly discuss issues in public areas where a teacher’s right to privacy may be violated.
  • When stakeholders meet, it is important to respect that the time of meetings should be kept to a reasonable amount of time.  Times of meetings should be agreed beforehand and these should be respected
  • If a parent needs to have a discussion or meeting, an appointment should be made at a convenient time for both parties. This ensures that issues can be resolved.  Class time from 9:00am to 2:40pm should not be interrupted.

 

Safety, Health and Welfare at Work

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act became operative on 1 November 1989.  It is an important piece of legislation for Boards of Management and for those who work in schools, as schools and colleges were brought under the scope of safety legislation for the first time.

 

It is recognised that school staff may be at risk from violence in the form of verbal abuse, threats, assaults or other forms of intimidation.  This behaviour may come from pupils, parents, guardians, other staff members or intruders.

 

In this respect, all staff should be aware of DES Circular 40/97 which deals with the procedures to follow if they feel they have been subjected to any of the above behaviours (copy included at the end of this policy).

 

Staff Communication

 

The staff of Glenahulla NS recognises the importance of positive working relations in the school environment. The following key practices help determine the climate and culture in our school and each teacher is asked to play their role in upholding the promotion of a healthy working environment for all.

 

  • Internal Communication

Regular, transparent, open and direct communication is encouraged.

There are regular staff meetings (i.e. at least one per term). At each meeting decisions are taken and the agreed follow-up actions are outlined. At the following staff meeting, minutes are adopted and a report  is given on follow up actions if necessary.

 

  • Process of Decision Making

In some instances decision making is relatively automatic, particularly if governed by clearly established rules and regulations. In other cases the staff is called upon to make decisions on the basis of consultation and consensus within the school community. This is particularly the case in drafting school policies, eg discipline, home/school links, RSE, etc.

The processes of decision making gives due regard to the role of the principal teacher and the Board of Management in accordance with DES Circular 1 6/’7 3 and relevant legislation. In order to foster collaborative decision making, all members of staff should be willing to make constructive contributions, to listen and respect each others viewpoints, to be prepared to be flexible, to compromise if necessary and to uphold the majority decision. Those chairing staff meetings should encourage such open and constructive discussions.

 

  • Effective School Policies and Procedures

All staff are aware of and have access to copies of school policies and procedures covering the curricular and administrative areas.

 

Administrative policies cover such areas as dealing with parental complaints (complaints procedure), dealing with parents (home/school links), disciplining pupils, bullying among pupils, supervision, dealing with child abuse … etc.

These policies and procedures are approved and adopted by the school’s Board of Management. The staff recognises that consistency and fairness are paramount in all of our dealings with students, parents and work colleagues; and the staff will endeavour to present a whole school approach to areas such as these. Staff meetings will be used to regularly review best practice.

 

  • Mutual Respect: Each member of staff performs a different role in the school and each is fully entitled to be treated with professional respect and with dignity.
  • A Sense of Fairness

Individual staff members are aware of the importance of demonstrating a sense

of fair play, tolerance and goodwill.

  • Unacceptable Behaviour

There are certain behaviours which are not acceptable among staff members and which create negative staff relations. Such behaviours include, workplace bullying, sexual harassment, rudeness, aggressiveness, offensive language, threatening or intimidating behaviour, victimisation and harassment. Each member of staff should respect the integrity and dignity of his/her colleagues. The Board of Management recognises that all employees have the right to a safe and healthy work environment and is fully committed to ensuring that all employees are able to enjoy that right.

 

  • Conflict Resolution

Conflict generally arises, where two or more people disagree over issues of organisational substance and/or experience some antagonism towards each other. In so far as the school as a workplace is concerned, it is important to recognise that: a) over a period of time conflict is inevitable; and b) that it is critical to resolve conflict at the earliest opportunity and before it is allowed to fester. In the vast majority of cases, teachers deploy conflict resolution skills, informally, effectively and constructively, such as:

  • listening;
  • identifying the source of conflict;
  • addressing the issue early and in a constructive manner;
  • putting forward options for resolution which may include reaching

compromises;

  • acknowledging if errors have been made and likewise accepting that errors may have been made by another party or that misunderstandings may have occurred;
  • accepting solutions whether as a compromise or otherwise;
  • closing the matter; and
  • moving on.

 

Most areas of disagreement\conflict are dealt with informally by teachers themselves. Occasionally the Principal may be asked to intervene between two parties, seek to mediate and resolve a staff relations difficulty. Where difficulties cannot be resolved, there are agreed procedures for staffs and Boards of Management to follow outlined in the document ‘Working Together- Procedures and Policies for Positive Staff Relations’ (INTO)

 

This policy has been made available to school personnel, is readily accessible to parents on request, and has been provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.

 

This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the staff and Board regularly.

 

 

Ratification & Communication

 

  • Ratified by the Board of Management.
  • Copy to The Parents Association.
  • Displayed on the school website.

 

Implementation

 

  • Immediate.

 

Review

 

  • 2019 or as the need arises

 

 

 

Signed ____________________________                       Signed _________________________

 

Chairperson BOM                                                                Principal

 

Date    _______________                                                Date      ________________