Polasaí Cumarsáide idir tuismitheoirií agus múinteoirí Parent/Staff Communication Policy

(Athbhreithniú déanta Meán Fomhair 2022/Reviewed September 2022)

Introductory statement

This policy was developed by the staff of Gaelscoil Osraí and the Board of Management, in conjunction with school parents in the school year 2019/2020.

Its purpose is to provide information and guidelines to parents and staff on parent/staff meetings and parent/staff communication in Gaelscoil Osraí. The family and home are central to the social and intellectual development of the child and the nurturing of good moral values. The school and the family strive to be mutually supportive and respectful of each other so that the child’s education can be effective. All the stakeholders aim to work for the benefit of the child and their learning.

Parents are encouraged to:

  • Develop close links with the school
  • Participate in meetings in a positive and respectful manner, affirming the

professional role of the staff and all staff members in the school

  • Collaborate with the school in developing the full potential of their children
  • Value and respect the school ethos.
  • Become actively involved in the school/parent association
  • Participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting them.

Structures in place to facilitate open communication & consultation with Parents

  • Parent/teacher meetings one-to-one in November for classes from Naíonáin Mhóra to Rang a Sé and in January/February for Naíonáin Bheaga
  • Parents receive school report of each pupil at the end of each school year
  • Meetings with parents whose children have special needs
  • Consultation throughout the year
  • Written communication, through messages and email using the Aladdin Connect App or through Seesaw and other electronic apps
  • Through the parents’ association, parents are invited to discuss and contribute

to the drafting and review of all school policies.

  • Decisions taken to change current policies and procedures or to introduce nones will be made known to all parents in written format via the school newsletter or through Aladdin Connect
  • Regular newsletters keep parents up to date with school events, holidays and school concerns
  • Parents are invited to events throughout the year e.g. Sports Day, school concerts etc.
  • Participating in curricular lessons from time to time eg. Paired reading, art lessons, music lessons, school choir etc.

Meetings with Teachers

The class teacher teaching your child is the FIRST and most important point of contact for every parent. The class teacher has the most contact time with your child, other than yourselves as parents. If you have a concern about any issue, please contact the school secretary to arrange a meeting (either physical one to one or by phone/online) at a mutually suitable time.

In the aftermath of an incident, please allow some time before meeting the teacher, in order that the fullest possible picture can emerge. Please ensure also that your child has given the fullest possible account of the incident involved. When contacting the school secretary, please give a brief description of the issue involved so that both parties can be prepared for the requested meeting.

The teacher will deal with the matter, including investigating further any issues raised if necessary.

The principal will only become involved in these issues if absolutely necessary. Every effort should be made to deal with all issues before the principal becomes involved. The exception to this is where child protection issues of any sort arise and the principal’s involvement is required as Designated Liaison Person. If the principal is contacted directly, s/he will almost always refer the matter back to the class teacher to be dealt with.

Where the issues raised with the teacher have not been satisfactorily concluded, the Principal will then be available to become involved.

Updating of information

It is vital that the school is immediately informed if family events/situations occur that cause anxiety to your child and therefore may adversely affect his/her education. In all matters pertaining to the wellbeing and education of pupils, only the parents/legal guardians named on the enrolment form will be consulted by staff.

In this regard, it is vital that all your children’s and your contact details are fully up to date. You can do so by updating the details through the Aladdin Connect app or by contacting the school office to do so. Updating of Emergency contact details are vital at all times.

Parent/Teacher meetings

Formal Parent/Teacher meetings will be held once a year for all classes (Circular 14/04). Where possible, they will be held in the first term, towards the end of November for all classes. Each parent will receive an invitation via Aladdin Connect to select a suitable time on one of the days involved, on a first come, first served basis, including co-ordinating times where siblings are concerned. Meetings will take place in classrooms. The learning support teacher/ resource teacher will also be available for formal parent/teacher meetings. In the case of separated parents, requests can be made by both parents to meet their child’s teacher(s) individually for parent/teacher meetings.

The purpose of the Parent/Teacher meeting is:

  • To establish and maintain good communication between the school and parents
  • To let parents know how their children are progressing in school
  • To help teachers/parents get to know the children better as individuals
  • To help children realise that home and school are working together.
  • To share the problems and difficulties the child may have in school
  • To review with the parent the child’s experience of schooling
  • To learn more about the child from the parent’s perspective
  • To learn more about parental opinions on what the school is doing
  • To identify areas of tension and disagreement
  • To identify ways in which parents can help their children
  • To negotiate jointly decisions about the child’s education
  • To inform the parents of standardised test results according to school policy

The meetings will last for ten minutes per child. If further follow-up meetings are required, the school will always endeavour to facilitate these requests.

Circular 56/2011

Initial Steps in the implementation of the national literacy and numeracy Strategy has been adopted by the Board of Management. References to parent/school communication are:

Reporting to parents

Parents have the primary responsibility for their children’s learning and development. Schools can strengthen the capacity of parents to support their children in this way by sharing meaningful information with parents about the progress that children are achieving in the education system. This information needs to draw on the different sources of evidence that staff use eg. Weekly tests, standardised test results, teacher observation etc. In turn, parents will often be able to enrich staff’s knowledge of their students’ progress through providing further information about the students’ learning at home.

Report card templates

Schools should help parents to understand fully the evidence of learning that the school reports to them, especially information from any standardised tests. The NCCA has provided a range of standard report templates to assist schools in reporting information about the progress of primary pupils to parents, including information from standardised tests. The NCCA report card templates were developed through a process of consultation with schools and parents can take account of research commissioned by the NCCA. Gaelscoil Osraí has adapted and uses one of these templates.

The report cards provide for reporting in four key areas:

  • The child’s learning and achievement across the curriculum
    • The child’s learning dispositions
    • The child’s social and personal development
    • Ways in which parents can support their child’s learning

Formal Meetings-IEPs
Formal timetabled parent/staff meetings on the subject of the Individual Education Plan will take place in September/October. The learning support/resource teacher in consultation with the classroom teacher, principal, parents and relevant others will draw up the IEP. However, if a parent wishes to arrange a meeting with the learning support/resource teacher at any stage during the year to discuss their child, they may do so by prior appointment.

Informal Parent/Staff Meetings

  1. The School encourages communication between parents and staffs.
    2. Meetings with the classroom teachers at the class door or at the line in the morning or afternoon to discuss a child’s concern/progress are discouraged on a number of grounds:
  1. Staff members cannot adequately supervise their classes while at the same time speaking to a parent
  2. It is difficult to be discreet when so many children are standing close by
  3. It can be embarrassing for a child when his/her parent is talking to staff in such a public way

Occasions occur where a parent needs to speak to a staff member urgently. Sometimes these meetings need to take place without prior notice. The Principal will aim to facilitate such meetings making every effort to ensure that the children in the class do not lose out on any of the teaching/learning time.

If parents wish to drop in lunch boxes, sports gear etc, this can be done through the secretary’s office as it is important to keep class interruptions to a minimum. The school has an internal phone system which notifies teachers of such deliveries. Please ensure, however, that your child takes responsibility for organising themselves and remembering their belongings.

Behaviour of all Stakeholders in the School

Positive and respectful communication is of high importance to our school. This not only extends to the children but to all of the stakeholders e.g. the staff, parents and the wider community. Anyone entering our building should feel safe to do so. While the behaviour of children in our school is of vital importance, adults in the school community also have a responsibility to ensure their own behaviour models the types of behaviour expected of children.

It is important that all stakeholders are responsible for their own behaviours in the school. Examples include:

  • All stakeholders are expected to speak to each other with respect. Shouting or other aggressive tones are not acceptable. If a stakeholder displays anger or aggression to another member of the school community, they may be asked to remove themselves from the building. In certain cases, the Garda Síochána must be called
  • All stakeholders will treat our children with the utmost respect while on the premises or grounds
  • Staff should not be asked to speak about another parent’s child or another staff member. The staff of the school will respect your child’s right to privacy so it is asked that parents respect other children’s and adults’ rights to privacy
  • When stakeholders meet, it is important to respect that the time of meetings should be kept to a reasonable amount of time. Times of meetings should be agreed beforehand and these should be respected
  • Staff are generally available to listen to a quick issue in the morning and after school. However, should a parent need to have a discussion or meeting, an appointment should be made at a convenient time for both parties. This ensures that issues can be resolved. Classes begin at 9:10 am and finish at 1:50(infant classes) and 2:50 pm (R a 1 to R a 6) and this time should not be interrupted.

Discrete time for communications

All staff members and indeed parents have a right to their discrete free time. We ask you strongly to respect his time and we undertake to do likewise. Communications to the school and from the school should therefore take place between 8.00 am and 5.00 pm. Contact at weekends, days off and holidays should never take place.

Many parents have access to staff members contact information for a variety of reasons. Staff members’ mobile phone numbers, email addresses or social media accounts, including WhatsApp and other platforms should never be used to contact staff in relation to school business. Please contact staff members using the main school email addresses runai@osrai.com or priomhoide@osrai.com during office hours or by phone at 056 7765697.

Social Media Comments

The school uses Social Media to relay news and to celebrate or notify people of events etc. taking place in the school. We would ask that social media (including WhatsApp) NEVER be used for commenting in a negative way on school matters. This applies to comments on school social media platforms as well as on personal social media accounts which are generally brought to our attention. All stakeholders have a right to their reputation and personal comments about other parties are utterly unacceptable. Please use formal meetings to raise issues of concern.

Safety, Health and Welfare at Work

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act became operative on 1 November 1989. It is an important piece of legislation for BoMs and for those who work in schools, as schools and colleges were brought under the scope of safety legislation for the first time.

It is recognised that school staff may be at risk from violence in the form of verbal abuse, threats, assaults or other forms of intimidation. This behaviour may come from pupils, parents, guardians, other staff members or intruders.

In this respect, all staff should be aware of DES Circular 40/97 which deals with the procedures to follow if they feel they have been subjected to any of the above behaviours.

This plan will be implemented from November 2019.

Ratified by the Board of Management
Chairperson: _______________________________

Date: _____________________________________

This policy will been reviewed again in September 2024 or sooner should the need arise.