Tips of the trade: 24. Telephoning parents

15th November 2002 at 00:00
Although we should ring parents and guardians to relay positive information about their children, we tend to ring only when a problem arises. The aim of telephoning is to improve a situation that is causing concern.

Speak first to colleagues who know the child's carer to ensure the call stands a good chance of success. That said, most parents appreciate being informed as soon as problems arise. Consider where the carer will receive the call: some parents don't like discussing sensitive matters when they're at work. If ringing from home, prefix the dialled number with 141 to ensure pupils don't have your number the next morning.

Introduce your school first, then yourself and your role with the child. Begin with a positive comment to show that you can see some good in the child.

Explain the situation. The carer will either accept your version; listen, but say they need to hear the child's version; or defend the child. While the final scenario can be distressing for teachers, you are right for trying to work with the carer and should say you will seek advice from your line manager.

Have ready a suggested remedy. For example, detention. Thank the carer for his or her support, pass a note of the conversation to your line manager, and relay the child's progress from now on in a brief follow-up call, or a note in the child's homework diary.

Tony Elston is head of modern languages at Urmston grammar school, Manchester.Have you any useful tips to pass on?We pay pound;50 for all tips published. Send yours to: susan.young@newsint.co.uk

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?

Subscribe

To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
 
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today