Learning Away schools have developed different ways of communicating with parents and carers during residentials. While the majority of parents/carers are happy to release their children into the hands of school staff once they have the information and have discussed the residential with school staff, some need ongoing reassurance whilst their child is away.
Communication with parents and carers before residentials (via letters, booklets, information evenings, films and individual discussion) is vital to their level of confidence about a residential: these strategies are covered in more detail in Gaining permission and Reassurance.
Whilst on the residential some staff tweet about activities each day, which enables all parents/carers with access to the internet to have an idea about what their child has been doing.
For those parents/carers who need individual, ongoing reassurance about their child, mobile phones have played a big part. A reassuring text or phone call from a member of staff to a parent/carer every day is often enough. Short phone calls home by students are also used, but only if parents/carers and staff agree that this won’t upset the child’s equilibrium on the residential. For older students who may have concerns about how things are at home, phone calls home help reduce their anxiety and enable them to engage fully with the residential.
Feedback following the residential proves very helpful for both parents/carers and school staff, particularly where children have broken unhelpful patterns of behaviour. Between them, parents/carers and school staff have been able – through close communication – to continue to support students to maintain more helpful patterns. In many cases this has leads increased ongoing engagement at school and a happier, more relaxed home life.
In this short film a parent, whose children have attended Bulwell EAZ partnership residentials, describes the simple ways she feels schools could communicate with them while their children are on away to provide both reassurance and other useful information.
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Have a look at our theory about how change happens on brilliant residentials.
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