The Frequency of School Communications to Parents [Parental Engagement #3]
Published on 06/03/19
This week we are focusing on the frequency of communications to parents that are sent out by schools; specifically how often communications are sent out by schools, whether this differs by sector and if there is a standardised frequency that most schools are adopting in relation to specific communication methods.
Frequency and Format
We found that the majority of schools advised that they send out communications to their parents at least once a week, which is excellent news, however we also discovered that this frequency depended very much on the format being used.
40% of the schools surveyed send a regular newsletter out at least once a week. None of the schools who were surveyed send out daily newsletters (which may be due to time restrictions and lack of information for a daily bulletin) but it was interesting to see that there were only two schools that we questioned who advised that they don’t send any newsletters out at all. Both of these were secondary schools. There was a higher percentage of primary schools sending out newsletters than secondary schools – we feel this could be down to smaller student numbers within primary schools combined with a higher likelihood of sending class newsletters out.
A lot of schools advised that they do not currently use a school app at the moment, however those that do have the technology, tended to communicate using it on a daily or weekly basis.
For those schools using social media, 50% of participants posted on either a daily or a weekly basis. All of the independent schools that we surveyed advised that they update their social media every day. The regularity (across all sectors) could be attributed to the dynamic nature of social media and also the relative ease and speed of updating, as opposed to some other methods.
Our research found that 75% of schools update their school website on either a daily or weekly basis, making it the most frequently used tool when sending out parental communications. Whilst usage was fairly average across the board in terms of sector, it appears that secondary schools were slightly more likely to have daily updates whereas primary schools edged ahead slightly with regards to weekly updates.
Of all schools surveyed, secondary schools were more likely to send daily general letters home, whereas primary schools were more inclined to send home weekly general letters. A large percentage of participants, across all sectors, chose ‘other’ on this section which may imply that general letters are sent home on a more ad-hoc basis than as a regular method of parental communication.
Email communication had the highest percentage of ‘daily’ responses over all other forms of communication that we investigated in our survey. This was consistently used daily across all three sectors. Weekly and monthly email correspondence was also high with only around 3% of participants advising that their school didn’t use it at all.
Text messaging is fairly evenly split frequency-wise across the daily, weekly and monthly options, however it is important to notice that this was the most regular ‘monthly’ communication selected. Interestingly, every independent school participant that completed our survey advised that text messaging was not a method of communication that they used. The reasons for this are unknown.
So, how much communication is best?
Overall, the consensus seems to be that having weekly communication with parents is important (and also, from a time and efficiency point of view this frequency is easier to maintain on a regular basis) with daily and monthly communications becoming more relevant and achievable depending on the format used and the message being communicated.
The frequency of ‘other’ was quite high for all of the options researched. We conclude that this may be due to some messages being sent out to parents on an ad hoc basis (trip notification, yearly reports, payment requests, snow days etc) so whilst not designed to be regular or frequent communications, they are likely to still be important.
In next week’s post…
Next week we will be looking at 'The Effectiveness of Current Communication Methods at Engaging Parents'
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