The topic of this week’s editorial is communication and empathy. While the vast majority of parents and carers manage communication with the school in a reasonable, measured and empathetic manner, there are occasions when this does not happen.
This week I have had reports of some parents contacting a number of teachers and leaders one after the other to ask for immediate call-backs and for 1-1 updates on all areas of their children’s progress. While staff will cancel existing appointments or lessons to respond to emergencies, they cannot be expected to do this as a matter of course. We have a reporting schedule to update parents on their children’s progress and staff will be in touch if there are particular matters of note, for good or ill, between these times. If you do have an urgent or pressing matter to discus with us that is not an emergency, please be patient while we respond to your questions as teachers spend most of their time teaching and leaders often have back-to-back schedules. When contacting a member of staff, please indicate what you would like to speak to them about so that they can gather information about the topic prior to speaking to you to make the best use of the time available.
Sometimes teachers are absent for ‘compassionate reasons’. While we do not share the details of why they are absent, the reasons can cover a variety of situations such as the illness or death of a near relative or other tragic situations. While I understand the fact that all children’s education is important, we all have to make allowances for the fact that our staff are subject to the same vicissitudes as the rest of humanity. If a staff member is absent (as indicated on their auto-reply), please avoid emailing them directly and contact their line manager or wait until they return as repeatedly emailing staff can cause them unnecessary distress.
While most parents, carers and staff communicate well without having to be reminded of how to do so, our communication guidelines are there as reminder to all about the basic expectations. If our staff do not abide by the communication guidelines, then you have every right to raise that with us. The guidelines detailing what we expect of our staff and our parents can be found here
Andrew McClusky – CEO, Hasmonean MAT