Expert Advice from Explore Learning

Carey Ann Dodah, Director of Curriculum Strategy of leading tuition provider

Parents’ evenings – one of the most important events in parents’ lives – where they sit down with those people who know their children almost as well as they do – and find out how they’re doing at school. 

But, with only ten minutes or so to formally review all those hours of learning how can you possibly fit it all in? And how do you remember everything you’ve talked about when you get home later that evening?  Carey Ann Dodah, Director of Curriculum Strategy at tuition provider, Explore Learning has some top tips on how to maximise your allotted time.

She says: “Parents’ events are such precious moments where you want to understand everything, cherish all the positive bits while helping your children learn from constructive feedback.

“Remember, your child’s teacher will always be available throughout the year to discuss any concerns or questions you have – you just have to ask and they will guide you. They may direct you to some information evenings coming up, guidance on the school’s website or book a slot in with you at a mutually suitable time. If you have a long list of questions you want to ask; parents’ evening may not be the best time.

1. Come to parents’ evening with no more than three questions

Do come with some set questions. Sometimes parents’ evening creeps up on us and we find ourselves sitting blankly in front of the teacher not sure what to ask and you know that half an hour later you’ll be kicking yourself for not discussing that important thing! So it’s a good idea to do a little preparation.

2. Chat to your child about school and their goals before parents’ evening

Your child can give you the best insight into what’s happening in the classroom. Is there anything that they are concerned about? What are they really enjoying? What do they think their next goals are? Make some notes on what your child said. It’s really nice to see if these align with the feedback from the teacher and there may be areas that you can fill each other in on.

3. Look for evidence of progress

Progress is measured in different ways across schools now, following recent curriculum changes and so the way your school is demonstrating progress may have changed. Ask about this if it is not clear and find out what the next steps are for your child to reach the next targets.

4. Look through your child’s workbooks

The best way to see evidence of progress is to look through your children’s books and compare work from the beginning of term to now. Read the teacher’s comments and see if there are any themes e.g. are they often running out of time, are there areas that they clearly don’t understand. Note down anything you want to look at with your child at home. If you don’t have time on the evening ask to take the books home overnight so you can review them properly.

5. Remember your child’s teacher is on your team

It can be really hard to receive bad feedback and your child’s teacher will not enjoy giving it. They really do want the best for your child just as you do. If they have mentioned problems with behaviour or concentration, for example, try to see this as a positive opportunity to make a change with your child with another person who’s sharing your child’s upbringing with you. A parent/teacher combined approach can be such a powerful way to make a change that could be great for everyone.

Explore Learning has 124 centres across the UK, providing English and maths tuition to children aged five to 14.

About Explore Learning

  • Explore Learning provides maths and English tuition to children aged five to 14
  • Over 35,000 children attend Explore Learning each week.  They have 124 centres across the UK
  • All courses are aligned to the National Curriculum and the Curriculum for Excellence and Explore Learning tutors select appropriate resources for each child to ensure they cover  combination of courses, enabling them to reach their potential in all areas
  • All Explore Learning centres are located in areas that are convenient for families to attend, for example within shopping centres such as Westfield London, Lakeside, Bristol Cabot Circus and a number of Sainsbury’s supermarkets
  • Explore Learning were named the best Private Tuition Centre Operator in the EducationInvestor Awards 2014, 2015 and 2016, the 57th best company to work for by The Sunday Times 2016, a One to Watch in The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100, a finalist in the European Business Awards and were recently named the 14th Best Place to Work For by GlassDoor.
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