Exploiting ICT to improve parental engagement

Written by admin

Topics: Education, Parents

At Costello we are at an interesting crossroads with regards to the development of a parent portal. We have something waiting in the wings, ready to go public, but are currently working closely with FROG to develop some of the key functionality that will help us to realise the 2010 targets quite a bit earlier.

The Becta toolkit suggests a normal of key milestones to manage this change: allocate responsibility within your school leadership team (guess that’s me), assess where your school is regarding online reporting using the Becta framework, consult all stakeholders including governors, staff, parents and learners to agree the strategy and vision that suits the context of your school, consider how progress could be made in each of the four framework strands and plan accordingly, contact your local authority to discuss specific plans, initiatives or partnerships that may already be in place, consult ICT suppliers, advisors and consultants to investigate possible solutions to support your school vision.
We we have got to so far is this, our whole E-Learning procurement was really based on a wider E-Strategy remit, with full stakeholder representation to shape the broadbrush vision. I am currently going through the Becta framework to see where we are, more out of curiousity than anything else as I know we have the capacity to incorporate enhanced parental engagement and have the capacity for change management.
One of the key drivers at the moment is the establishment of a parent focus group that is going to focus on unpicking what parents actually want to see and be able to do with regard to the education of their children. I put an article in the current newsletter (went home Friday to all parents) and have already received a few emails from parents expressing an interest in working with the school to shape our vision for the parent portal. The other driver to get this group established is that I want to be able to feedback this information directly to FROG. I am really excited about the opportunity to work, once again with a third party to develop what I am sure will be a product that can lead the marketplace and well ahead of its time in terms of key functionality.
I am hoping to get a meeting set before the christmas holidays so that I can bring the group up to where we are at the moment and give them the opportunity for some blue sky thinking. I am hoping that much of what they will be saying and requesting has been scoped already but it is important to get people involved and take some ownership of new developments.
I am toying with the idea of going live with our current portal soon – something that I have been running through in my own mind for a couple of weeks now. On the one hand I recognise the advantage of going live with a fully fledged product but on the other I could be using the forums within our current parent portal to get more feedback and keep parents informed as to what key developments are next on the horizon. Decisions, decisions. I know that I would get far more feedback from the masses by doing this than holding a meeting, but it would be a very different kind of feedback. That parent focus group will be the forum to ask lots of probing questions to shape ideas. I think the two approaches can compliment each other.

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