“Just stick to the timings.” – Mrs Z.P. Hammond (My mother)

As we approach the half term holiday, we have started our season of Parents’ Meetings. These events are a key element of school life and as a school community we place great value on them. Over the pandemic period we held our parents’ meetings online, but now restrictions have lifted we have returned to in-person events. After much discussion we decided to return to this model as we feel that it is beneficial for parents to experience the campus, meet teachers and have the chance to meet other families face-to face.

When I first started teaching, my mother gave me only one piece of advice – whatever else I was to do, I should stick closely to Parents’ Evening timings. I have two brothers and she told me in plain terms that she had spent too much time waiting around at parents’ evenings because people could not follow timings. It is “advice” that I haven’t forgotten. So before going any further it is probably worth saying that if you feel that there is an issue that requires a longer conversation than the allotted 5 or fifteen minutes don’t wait, make contact via the respective school office and an appointment will be organised. We use a bell to remind people to move on these days.

Most slots in a BSP parents evening are short. Teachers have different approaches to the use of time. Some will ask accompanying pupils to provide a quick overview of their progress, others will provide a synopsis of the material covered. It may well be the case that examples of work will be shown to illustrate your child’s progress. In the discussion of your child’s work please do ask questions, we teachers tend to assume that everyone else understands what it is we are going on about and it isn’t always the case.

As a parent on the other side of the parents’ evening desk, I’ve found it a good idea to take notes and have any recent reports or assessment grades to hand. This way I can gain a greater understanding of the progress that has been made, and it is also a means of capturing suggestions for work to be done in support of the subject. Once again, if at the end of your allotted slot you feel that you would like to know more then please do make contact via the relevant School Office.

Often the most significant challenge is to spot the teacher in a crowded hall or to know which floor of the Junior school to go to. Along with your appointment sheet you may have a map or a pupil as a guide. Teachers generally have their names on the door or on their desk. It really helps us if you can wear your name badge too. If you are in doubt, ask, and someone will point you in the correct direction. At the start of the evening please make sure you sign in, so we know you are attending and if you have to arrive late pick up your appointments from the next allotted slot. It may be possible to “make up” appointments, but please don’t jump in and take someone else’s booked appointment slot!

We hope that you find parents’ evenings informative and useful. For us it a great opportunity to celebrate progress and where necessary give pointers for improvement. I hope to see you soon.

Nicholas Hammond