There is absolutely no value in introducing a form of Parental Engagement that your parents do not like. As stated previously, it’s important to find out what they want and to be able to demonstrate what evidence has influenced your decision-making.
Some school leaders shy away from consultation with the parent body as they see it as handing over control. You must remember that fact-finding is just that, and not a referendum or extension of management through democracy. The SLT is employed to lead and manage the school, the views of the parent body can help in this process. A far more important emphasis within your decision-making process should be ‘equity’ – no parent should be able to exert a greater influence than any other, and all should be given a voice.
The vast majority of parents have little knowledge about how schools work and their opinions are usually based upon their own experience as pupils or that of their children. Therefore, if you ask them a question, their answers will be based on what they already know.
Any audit undertaken in the area of parental engagement should be accompanied by a variety of information sharing to educate the parent (and pupil) body about the benefits of the various options.
Remember that in any school there will be those parents who willingly share their views and those who are reluctant to do so. Therefore, if you rely solely on parents to send their views in writing, you will automatically be excluding a large number of parents and in all probability, the very parents that you need to involve.
We recommend easy methods of canvassing opinion from the entire range of parents in your school – such as through short-term focus groups, which are not only more inclusive but enable you to demonstrate that you have based decisions on the views of the complete range of the parent body.