Maximising School Improvement Through Effective Stakeholder Communication

Mar 20, 2024 | Blogs

Maximising School Improvement Through Effective Stakeholder Communication

Mar 20, 2024 | Blogs

At the core of what we’re all trying to do – especially if you’re running a school – is to make sure that the learning environment is as brilliant as it can possibly be for pupils. During recent chats with schools we discussed how a massive part of nailing that is effectively communicating with all of your school’s key stakeholders.

So, I thought, why not write a blog about how crucial it is to get that dialogue right? In this blog, I’ll start by talking about our ‘main’ stakeholder group – parents and pupils.

I’ll also talk about the wider group. These are the local businesses, charities, churches, care homes, voluntary groups and so on. These people might not be in the classroom every day, but they’re part of the ecosystem that supports and enriches the educational experience for our pupils.

Implementing an effective communications strategy with these groups is not just a nice to have, it’s essential. It shapes your school and positions you as not just an educational institution but a heartbeat in the community, making learning relevant, dynamic, and exciting for everyone involved.

Table Of Contents

  • The ‘Main’ Stakeholders: Parents and Pupils
  • The Wider Stakeholder Group: Local Businesses and Organisations
  • 8 Actions to Implement an Effective Communications Strategy

The ‘Main’ Stakeholders: Parents and Pupils

Working with schools for the last 15 years, I’ve picked up a thing or two about communicating regularly and effectively with parents. When it’s done just right, the relationship between the school and the parents blooms. The pupils have a much brighter school experience and you give them every chance to really shine.

I’ve watched pupils become more switched on and involved, and how this sparks a fire under their learning outcomes. And guess what plays a starring role here? Yep, communication with parents. When parents are clued into their child’s school life, they’re way more likely to back up learning at home.

In a nutshell, that’s the essence of continuous school improvement.

I’m going to share my personal experience. When I was based in a school, we had to introduce a new assessment and target setting policy. I looked at every part of the process, including the communications and guidance we were sharing, and the way we ran parents’ evenings. This holistic way of doing things meant we could catch any worries or grumbles early on before they turned into bigger issues. Being a parent and thinking about how it would affect that role and my child helped. 

Giving parents manageable ways to get involved really does strengthen their bond with the school, even if it’s making communication easier by taking things online, like reports, option choices and parents’ evening bookings. Even online surveys – the more chances parents get to ask questions and get involved, the better it is for everyone.

But, and this is really important, the pupils are the biggest winner from these communication strategies. Isn’t that what we’re all here for?

During my time in the education sector, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and everything in between. But one thing’s for sure, getting communication right can make all the difference.

The Wider Stakeholder Group: Local Businesses and Organisations

Getting your communications plan right with this group – local organisations such as businesses, charities, churches, care homes, voluntary groups, and all those other community heroes out there – is huge. It does wonders for the whole school community.

They will bring a whole new dimension to what you’re doing, enriching your pupils’ learning in ways you couldn’t do on your own.

Here are 5 points that are the main benefits of a clear and effective communication strategy for this group of stakeholders.

  1. Building Trust and Partnerships: A well-crafted communication plan lays the foundation for trust, which in turn, fosters partnerships. With trust, school initiatives gain support and advocacy from a broader community, enhancing the school’s reach and impact.
  2. Meaningful Relationships and Public Perception: When schools communicate effectively with external stakeholders, they not only build meaningful relationships but also improve their public perception, which is invaluable for community support.
  3. Informed Decision-Making: Transparent communications are essential for the smooth implementation of policy changes. Well-informed stakeholders are more likely to understand and embrace new policies.
  4. Resource Acquisition: Effective communication can open doors to additional resources for the school. Whether it’s through expertise, skills, or financial support, these resources significantly enhance the pupil experience.
  5. Professional Development: Lastly, the opportunities that stem from stakeholder engagement are instrumental in promoting a culture of continual learning and adaptation among staff, which directly translates to improved educational practices.

So, wrapping things up, it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the parents and pupils stakeholder group, or your broader family of community partners; cracking the code on effective communication is what really turns the key to making your school better.

It’s all about knitting together relationships, sewing seeds of trust, and crafting a place where your pupils can soar.

As senior leaders in school, it’s down to you to keep those conversations flowing and always be on your toes, thinking about how you can do it even better.

Making everyone feel involved, like they’re part of the team, that their voice matters, and that they’re right there with you means that collectively you’re all contributing to the continuous improvement of your school and providing an even better learning experience for your pupils.

8 Actions to Implement an Effective Communications Strategy

So now we’ve unravelled the essence of effective communication within your educational setting, how about we put this blueprint into action? Here’s a checklist to ensure you’re ticking all the right boxes and truly elevating your school’s communication game:

  1. Engage Regularly with Parents and Pupils: Ensure you’re not just sending information home but inviting a two-way conversation. Have we checked in with parents this term?
  2. Revolutionise Your Parents’ Evenings: Are they interactive and genuinely informative? Could technology facilitate better dialogue?
  3. Harness the Power of Online Reporting: Are updates frequent, accessible, and useful? Remember, knowledge is power – especially for parents rooting from the sidelines.
  4. Deepen Ties with Local Businesses and Organisations: When was the last time you reached out to your community partners? Could there be an untapped opportunity waiting?
  5. Transparent Policy Updates: Are stakeholders outside your immediate school community in the loop about significant changes? How can we make this information more digestible?
  6. Explore New Avenues for Professional Development: With feedback and new perspectives from external stakeholders, are we investing in our staff’s growth effectively?
  7. Foster a Continual Learning Culture: How are we embedding the feedback from all stakeholder communications into our daily practices and long-term strategies?
  8. Cultivate Trust Through Consistency: Are we consistently reliable in our communication efforts? Trust is the bedrock of all productive relationships.

Taking these steps not only bridges the gap between school and stakeholders but also positions your institution as a pillar of the community – inclusive, progressive, and unequivocally committed to excellence. Remember, the goal is not just to send messages but to spark meaningful conversations that fuel continuous improvement.

Which action will you be starting with?

This blog was written by Emma Maltby, Partnerships Manager at Schoolaspect. 

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