Student reports and parent/carer-teacher-student conferences
Purpose of conferences
Parent/carer-teacher-student conferences provide valuable opportunities for the teacher, student, parents and/or carers to share and learn more about the student socially, emotionally and academically.
They are a good way to establish and maintain collaborative relationships between parents/carers, teacher and student, regarding the student’s academic achievement, learning and wellbeing.
Conferences provide opportunities for:
- building positive relationships
- sharing information about the student’s interests and learning behaviours
- sharing information about the student’s health and wellbeing
- student agency, through showcasing their work
- providing specific feedback on student achievement and progress
- talking more in-depth about the student’s report
- understanding more about how to support the student in their learning
- establishing goals for improved learning and achievement in the future.
Preparation for conferences
The school should decide on the processes and protocols of the conferences in consultation with the school community. Conferences can be offered twice a year, at least once for each semester of the school year.
School leadership teams should:
- ensure the conferences are within the agreed working hours for teachers and that teachers have allocated break times during the conferencing period
- have process and protocols in place to guide the conferences, for example, setting an appropriate date, length of conferences, appropriate space for conferences, follow up processes if parents/carers cannot or do not attend the conferences
- ensure the conferences are purposeful and timely, for example, if one of the intents is to discuss student reports, then they would need to be held shortly after reports are received
- provide plenty of notice to parents/carers of the date(s) of conferences, so they have ample time to organise to attend
- provide seated waiting areas for early arrivals
- set up a system to enable parents/carers to select conference time(s) that are suitable for them
- ensure school leaders are available to attend conferences if needed.
Before the conference, teachers should:
- ensure their schedule of conferences is at hand
- organise a translator(s) if needed
- collate learning evidence for each child, and have student workbooks or work samples available for viewing
- have discussion questions ready which are aligned to the purpose of the conference.
During the conference teachers should:
- greet the parent/carer and students and provide a brief overview of the purpose of the meeting
- arrange a follow-up meeting with parents/carers if needed
- avoid using teacher terms to ensure the parents/carers and students have a good understanding of all terms used
- provide opportunities for the student to discuss their learning
- provide opportunities for the parent/carer and students to ask questions or provide further information about the student
- be positive; including the student’s areas of strength, as well as areas for growth
- use evidence about the student’s learning and behaviour and, if necessary, ask somebody else to be there or nearby if needed
- finish the meeting co-creating clear learning and behavioural goals to guide the next steps in student learning and achievement.
After the conference:
- talk with the student about what was discussed and steps to improve their learning
- follow up on any agreed actions and/or plan
- continue to communicate with the parents/carers.
For more information
Reviewed 10 July 2020