With most pupils returning to the classroom this Autumn, the challenges facing headteachers and schools cannot be understated. Although there are now clear guidelines from the Government, putting a back to school strategy into operation has not been easy.
In a world dominated by Covid-19, we can forget the amount of work that has already gone into preparing for the new term. From reorganising classrooms to supporting learning at all levels, teams of teachers across the UK have done an amazing job.
Schools need to have a wide range of strategies in place and be prepared for outbreaks and implementing restrictions while still trying to deliver quality education. To do this, clear, effective and immediate communication is going to play a vital role.
Why Strong Communication is Key
While many parents will be glad to see their children returning to school, they will obviously have worries around safety and what the future holds. Communicating effectively has never been so important for schools and providing the information that parents require, as and when they need it, is essential.
Schools need to have robust strategies in place. Approaches may well vary depending on the type of school, the needs of individual pupils and their family members and speed of response is going to be crucial over the next few months. It’s not just about giving parents the facts but encouraging them to participate with a wide range of support measures.
The Benefit of a Dedicated School App
Schools must assess the needs of parents and pupils as much as possible, including how they want to be contacted if urgent action or information needs to be disseminated. Strategies may well include video conferencing, using phone and email as well as texting.
More often nowadays, creating a dedicated app that can be used to tailor communication to groups of parents can make a huge difference. Several schools have already implemented this technology to complement their existing systems.
A school app has some big advantages, not least that it can be used to send immediate messages and make sure that parents have the right information to hand. An app can be easily downloaded onto a smartphone or tablet, notifications and two way communication set up in a matter of seconds, all of which makes the school’s operations open and transparent.
Not only does this allay the fears of parents, but it also ensures that schools have a fit for purpose communication tool that works for the majority of stakeholders. The level of technology available today means that apps can be tailored to individual needs, including having different language options for parents.
An app can ensure that parents get up to date information concerning Covid-19 as well as a clear understanding of the steps that individuals can take themselves to improve safety. Most schools also have either pupils or parents who are more at risk during the pandemic and tailoring policies and approaches is another vital aspect of getting back to the classroom where possible. School apps can support this and give headteachers a wider range of options, ensuring full and transparent communication almost all the time.
Covid-19 will present challenges for schools into the foreseeable future. Most areas will likely see local outbreaks and lockdown restrictions will need to change accordingly. Having a robust communication tool in place that parents can easily access and use is going to make a big difference.