Parent Engagement

Jodh Singh Dhesi

When it comes to parental engagement in our schools: whilst we should continue to utilise the latest technologies to great effect for ongoing regular contact and progress updates, there can be no substitute for the value of face-to-face communication. We asked Jodh Singh Dhesi, Head of School Performance and Standards, for his thoughts…

In one of my previous roles as a Principal, I would do playground “duty” at the end of the day every day, supervising the students as they left. It was always the perfect opportunity to interact with students, staff, and those parents who were picking up their children or coming into school. It also gave me a chance for a catch up with members of the senior leadership team in the brief interlude between the bustle of the teaching day and the time for administrative tasks. Sometimes our discussions would be about the occasionally challenging conversations with parents about their children’s experience.

No matter the issue, and no matter how contentious or demanding the concern, we would always conclude with a version of this phrase: “Aren’t we lucky that the parents of our school are so involved and interested in their children’s education?” We knew that having a community of families who cared about their children’s school experience, often passionately, meant that we had the opportunity of working together for a common purpose.

Fast-forwarding to GEMS, I have the pleasure of sitting on the Local Advisory Boards of five schools, and I see first-hand the passion, commitment, and enthusiasm of parents. I also see it in the parental organisation at sports days and fairs, parental turnout at concerts and shows, and parental fund-raising and profile-raising on the part of PTAs. Our schools here are lucky to have such commitment and will thrive because of it.