In the 21st Century, we have so many ways to communicate. We email, phone, text, facebook, tweet, write letters and the list goes on.
I’ve been in post for 2 and a half months as a principal. The first complaint I received from parents was regarding communication and ways it has broken down. The school’s parent survey revealed exactly what I was expecting. Letters were going out with the wrong information, regardless of whether these were proof-read by a small army.
I mentioned this to other headteachers and was told that most parents would say that communication is poor. However, I wanted to tackle it head on- so here are my tips from what I’ve done
- Have a central place for key information. Everything we communicate is now on the website. That might be shared as a blogpost, calendar event or pdf letter. This has made our newsletters simpler. Links to the most recent and most relevant posts are put onto a mailchimp template and the campaign is sent out. My next steps for this is to ensure that a ‘subscribe’ button is on the website so new parents can easily sign up for it. Soon we are going to provide Community Computers, where parents have easy access to our website to check any information.
- Don’t be afraid of social media. Schools are often terrified of facebook and twitter. We are just beginning to develop this area and are deciding the ‘rules’ concerning how we use it. However, it is important to note that most parents have one of these and look at these regularly. Whereas constant emails feel like bombardment, facebook and twitter gets the message out quickly and hits a wide audience.
- Make sure all staff know. In term one at school, we worked really hard at developing our communication with parents (still miles off but better than it was). However, in doing this I began to neglect clear and concise communication with staff. I started off by sending a weekly email (not wanting to bombard with lots of emails) but the reality was that they took a long time to write and I left essential information off. I was also telling parents things that SLT decided before telling the teachers, who it would impact the most. I’m still learning in this area but am learning to talk more and be prepared with the right information at briefings.
My aim is to simplify the messages we are sending and then send them through the media available.