New online Parents’ Evening format a huge success
January 14, 2021

Rydal Penrhos’ new online Parents’ Evening system is a huge success.

These are ever-changing and uncertain times. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to be bringing additional challenges with every passing day thanks to a surge of cases across the country in recent weeks, but Rydal Penrhos and its hard-working staff are adjusting extremely well to ensure that pupils and parents continue to get the best education and service possible.

Another prime example of this is the new Parents’ Evening format, which can obviously not take place as normal due to social distancing restrictions implemented by the Welsh Government to prevent the risk of infection.

The school recognised the importance of these events to discuss progress and focus on pupil-specific goals with their families, so Rydal Penrhos introduced a new online SchoolCloud system during the autumn term to enable these to remain in place – albeit virtually.

As part of the new implementation, parents can choose their own appointment times, rather than leaving the decision in the hands of their son or daughter.

No more lost appointment cards.

No more “the maths teacher was fully booked” excuses!

The system being used by Rydal Penrhos allows both parents and teachers to meet easily via video call without downloading any software in the process.

Following the first three Parents’ Evening involving Year 12, 11 and 7, the school asked its parent groups for some feedback on the sessions and received a positive response.

Receiving and listening to parent opinion is something that takes the highest priority at Rydal Penrhos and has been the catalyst behind the school’s success over the decades.

How straightforward was the booking system used to make appointments?

  • Year 12 – 4.6/5
  • Year 7 – 4.6/5
  • Year 11 – 4.93/5

How straightforward was it to use the software to have conversations with the teachers?

  • Year 12 – 4/5
  • Year 7 – 4.53/5
  • Year 11 – 4.8/5

Andy Thomas, Director of Teaching and Learning, said: “There have been a number of very helpful constructive comments from parents.

“We responded by introducing a one-minute gap between appointments for the Year 7 evening followed by increasing the appointment length to six minutes for Year 11.

“We have been in communication with SchoolCloud about a number of other issues including connectivity, sound quality and flexibility with appointment lengths.

“They have since introduced the option for a one-minute gap between appointments, greater flexibility so that individual teachers can be allocated double length appointments and they will soon be introducing a feature where parents can log in to appointments from different locations.

“We have also been able to organise meetings for parents with individual teachers when the teacher was not able to attend the parents’ evening.

“The ease of use of the booking system has been hugely popular and many parents have appreciated that the evening runs to time and that there is the opportunity to enjoy a cup of tea when there is a gap between appointments.”

Rydal Penrhos has led the way when it comes to adaptation in such uncertain times. The school’s teaching staff continues to go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure there is no loss of learning despite the lockdown, which includes a normal lesson timetable conducted in a virtual setting.

This has gained a significantly positive response from the school community and here are just a few comments regarding the Parents’ Evening changes from parents.

“A really enjoyable experience and due to the time limit, the conversation was more concise.”

“A few teachers apologised, but I genuinely thought this was an infinitely superior method of organising the parents’ evening. The online appointments meant it kept to time, whereas the schedule for the in-person evenings tends to get abandoned rapidly. Six minutes was plenty in all but a couple of cases, and we could all do it from home rather than have to drive to the school, park, et cetera. Please retain the online format!”

“This was even better than face to face!! I know it’s better to see teachers face to face especially for in-depth discussion but for a general progress update ‘ it was great. We have missed some teachers previously as appointments have overrun but this system worked great and focuses minds to ensure all is said in a concise way.”

“I thought it was an extremely easy process to book and use the software, I liked that I got confirmation emails which listed all my appointments. The video calls went very smoothly. I don’t think any of it could have been any easier really!”

“Meetings were focussed which was good. A follow-up email or appointments were offered if they were needed. We always felt welcome.”

“This was a really efficient approach, loved it!! Once Covid is over, it would be great to keep this as an option for parents who cannot attend. Or, maybe have periodic face to face parents’ evening mixed with periodic video calls.”

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Anyone wishing to enquire about Rydal Penrhos School can do so by calling 01492 530155, email admissions@rydalpenrhos.com or register your interest online here: https://rydalpenrhos.com/admissions/apply-now/