Are virtual parents’ evening systems the future for schools?

Time to read: 9min 7 Oct 2021

Remember 2019? We were pottering around our lives, mask-less and without worry, hugging our loved ones and sitting across from each other in face-to-face parents’ evenings. Well, a lot’s changed since 2019, including how schools are running parents’ evenings, but the question is: how many of these changes are here to last?

Face to face parents eveningParents’ evenings in need of a makeover

Parents’ evenings have long been an integral part of the parent-school experience and are essential for parents to keep track of their children’s performance and behaviour. But they’re rarely viewed as relaxed and efficient, with families darting from room to room, desperately trying to claw back the few minutes they overran speaking to the first teacher.

It’s about time, then, that someone mixed some innovation into the parents’ evening format. Someone who can transform how they are run so that the valuable one-on-one parent-teacher time is fully utilised.

Glasgow-based software company, SchoolCloud, have done just that.

While they’ve been ‘disrupting and innovating the EdTech industry since 2006’ with their digital booking systems, it took the recent school closures for them to really revolutionise how schools run their parents’ evenings. By overcoming the immediate hurdle of running parents’ evenings when no one can meet in-person, they may have paved the way for a completely new way of doing things.

The solution was to completely migrate parents’ evenings to a virtual space, with encrypted video functionality and scheduled time slots which cut off when it’s time for the next meeting.

SchoolCloud: ‘virtually’ perfect?

As a system that more than just navigates the issue of government-mandated home teaching, SchoolCloud Parents Evening solves a multitude of issues that have plagued parents’ evenings for too many years.

1. Better timekeeping for a smoother evening

Parent-teacher meetings will never overrun… because they can’t!

SchoolCloud Parents Evening controls the appointment length so when the time limit is reached, that’s it; onto the next one.

And the next one’s never far away. Virtual appointments mean that no time is wasted travelling from one classroom to another; the next meeting can start instantly.

Virtual parents evening

2. Promoting more productive conversations

With strict timekeeping measures in place, parents and teachers need to make sure that they make the most of the time they have. Conversations will need to become more streamlined and productive, focusing more on advice and actions to take following the child’s performance.

3. A booking system that’s almost too easy

Scrambling around with appointment sheets and chasing pupils to book in their slots is no longer a worry for teachers and school admin staff. Parents can instantly book their appointments online or through a school app, such as School Gateway, ensuring that they get the most convenient appointments for their family.

4. Easier for parents to attend

With all appointments being online, parents only need an internet connection to be able to attend their child’s parents’ evening. Wherever they are, and whatever they’re doing, parents can use their browser, smartphone, or tablet to join their scheduled meetings. And with 84% of UK adults owning a smartphone, this functionality will do wonders for parents’ evening attendance rates.

Not only that, but this will help to make great strides towards improving parental engagement in schools. With parents’ work demands and lack of time being a key barrier to effective parental engagement, the ability to interact with parents’ evenings remotely is something that parents and schools will love.

5. Actionable insights to improve future parents’ evenings

Did your parents’ evening go off without a hitch? Or was there some room for improvement?

SchoolCloud Parents Evening offers schools easily digestible reports and actionable insights so schools can see what worked and what didn’t. Schools can easily get insight into the students who don’t have appointments, the most popular time slots, overall attendance, and no shows, ensuring that the event goes even smoother and is more efficient next time around.

Here for good

What many saw as an answer to school closures and restrictions on face-to-face interactions has turned into a complete overhaul of the way parents’ evenings are run. That’s why, in SchoolCloud’s poll of 1,000 schools, 97% indicated that they will be having either a fully virtual parents’ evening or a combination of both in-person and virtual appointments.

But the future may not be fully virtual. Hybrid parents’ evenings are an option for schools looking to benefit from the best of both worlds. With SchoolCloud, bookings can be made for online or in-person appointments, giving parents full agency over the convenience of their parents’ evening.

If you’re a Schoolcomms customer, you’re just a stone’s throw away from experiencing all the benefits that SchoolCloud Parents Evening has to offer. We’ve partnered with SchoolCloud Parents Evening, which integrates with Schoolcomms and School Gateway (our parent app), to bring you the most powerful all-in-one solution for your school. This integration gives parents the easiest option for booking their parents’ evening appointments; with just a few taps, they can do it from within the School Gateway app!

To learn how to take your parents’ evenings online, or to find out more, click here.

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