The first half term of this academic year is crawling to a close. Many schools will be holding Parent Consultations which you’ll be invited to in order to discuss your child’s progress.
Some of us approach these meetings with a certain amount of trepidation and looming dread. But I want you to be armed with these following seven questions to make this an experience that will enormously benefit your child. And will make you feel a little lighter.
1. Is your child happy at school?
In my opinion, this is the most important requirement. If your child is happy, he will learn and thrive. How does the teacher view your child’s emotional well-being? What is she doing to promote great self-esteem?
2. What is the teacher doing to encourage your child’s interests?
He may love football, cars, cooking, space, trees, history. So how is this being incorporated into his day? Is the teacher using his interests to springboard his learning? A motivated child talking about lifecycle of a frog will of course develop his language skills. But more importantly it will give him a feeling of self-worth.
3. What is the teacher doing to promote your child’s natural talents?
Similarly, is he being given opportunity to show case his special talent? He may be amazing at sign language, playing the piano, balancing on one leg, telling jokes, recalling the football teams in the last seven World Cups. Make sure the teacher knows, so that he can show his peers that he may not be great at the 6x table but he sure can juggle. He deserves this special recognition.
4. Is your child receiving any interventions?
Many schools are creative with using their support staff and your child may be receiving extra help with maths, reading or writing. But schools are not good at passing on this information. So specifically ask the question. Then ask how you can support this learning at home.
5. Does the school run a social skills or nurture group?
Our children find social situations tricky. So ask if there are any opportunities for him to get taught specific strategies how to deal with confrontation and challenging social situations. How to make friends and to get accepted by a group.
6. What strategies has the teacher put in place to help your child make progress?
Is the work suitably differentiated and appropriate? He needs to have access to equipment to help him understand new concepts. He must have specialist equipment to help him with fidgeting or sensory overload. He needs opportunities to record his work in different ways. Visual resources should be used to aid understanding and help with organisation and processing.
7. How does the teacher manage his challenging behaviour?
Let’s be honest. There will be many, many occasions when you’ll get called in for ‘a quick chat’. So are you familiar with the school Behaviour Policy? Is the teacher following the correct procedure when dealing with inappropriate behaviour? Is there another way to deal with unwanted behaviour? However, if a child is feeling valued, work is differentiated and he has been taught how to play with his peers then there shouldn’t be many occasions when things are going wrong for him.
So approach these Parent Consultation meetings with confidence. Ask these questions. Your child deserves the very best support in school.
I’d love to know how you get on…drop me an email at 🖥️ firstname.lastname@example.org