School profiles: spread the word

9th May 2008 at 01:00
A governor of a large secondary admitted they completely forgot to do the school profile last year
A governor of a large secondary admitted they completely forgot to do the school profile last year. No one noticed - least of all the 3,000 parents for whom this is meant to be the key communication about the school's work. Perhaps this is not surprising. A recent survey of 1,000 parents found only 29 per cent knew the profile existed.

One message from this is that governing bodies ought to be doing what they can to make parents more aware of the profile, and encouraging them to look it up on the internet, or printing it out and sending a copy home with every child. Another is that the profile should never be seen as the main way of communicating with parents.

Take Sats or exam results: unless it has a lot to hide, no school would want to wait for what could be the best part of a year before informing parents about them in the profile. Or that heading: "How are we making sure that every child gets teaching to meet their individual needs?" Energy put into getting parents to attend parents' evenings will get this across far better. Or "What activities are available to pupils?" - surely you will be advertising these to parents regularly to get pupils to attend? Or "What is Ofsted's view of our school?" You will have circulated its report as soon as it became available.

But you shouldn't ignore the profile: it is a legal requirement to publish it every year. To have a real profile with parents, ensure your governors have an effective communications strategy.

Stephen Adamson, Vice-chair of the National Governors' Association.

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