Are virtual parents' evenings here to stay beyond Covid?

Could online parents' evenings be here to stay?

Could online parents' evenings be here to stay? - Credit: Getty Images

School parents' evenings could be set to remain online beyond the coronavirus pandemic following positive feedback for virtual meetings. 

The government's education catch-up tsar Sir Kevan Collins told a House of Lords committee last week that video calls were "much better than trying to find a parking space on a wet Tuesday and waiting your turn".

The National Association of Head Teachers said it hoped to see a hybrid model for such events in the future.

During lockdown schools and colleges across Norfolk replaced face-to-face parents evenings with either phone calls or video feedback using specialist video platforms like SchoolCloud that allow parents to book appointments.

In a letter to parents Taverham High School, one of the schools to use video links for parental feedback this year, said: “We do appreciate that these are important conversations, especially after students experienced major disruption to their learning during the first lockdown, so rather than simply communicating by email or phone we are using a new system of video conferencing.”

Simon Hipwell, Year 2 teacher at Diss Primary Academy

Diss Primary Academy teacher Simon Hipwell who is among who have provided parent feedback online during the pandemic. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Virtual meetings provide greater flexibility for parents and teachers, with regard to childcare arrangements, and were "sharp and focused" and did not overrun with some schools offering specific timed slots.  


You may also want to watch:


Schools reported that initial IT problems had been ironed out but conceded that virtual appointments "can never be compared to face-to-face meetings".

Norwich parent Sarah Davies who has found online parents' evenings helpful.

Norwich parent Sarah Davies who has found online parents' evenings helpful. - Credit: Submitted

Norwich parent Sarah Davies, whose daughters are in Years 5 and 8, said: “It’s been a necessity because of the pandemic and I’ve found it has worked well, but I think there should always be the option of a face-to-face meeting.

Most Read

“I’d be unhappy if this became the default, even if it is convenient.”

Former local head Geoff Barton, who is now general secretary of the ASCL headteacher union, said we could see a mixture of face-to-face and online meetings in the future.

Former Suffolk headteacher Geoff Barton, now general secretary at the Association of School and Coll

Former Suffolk headteacher Geoff Barton, now general secretary at the Association of School and College Leader Picture: DANNY HEWITT - Credit: DANNY HEWITT

“It would have seemed inconceivable to many of us even a couple of years ago that we would seriously be talking about online parent evenings being a reality," he said. 

“Some schools and colleges will still prefer the face-to-face contact they get at a traditional parent evening but, for many, meeting online will be a more convenient way for parents to receive important feedback on their child’s progress and encourage higher levels of engagement in future.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus