Parent-teacher conferences, and increasingly learner led parent-teacher conferences, are an opportunity for you to meet and get to know your child's teacher and foster a positive and respectful relationship with your child’s school. They are an opportunity to share information about your child’s progress, interests and needs and discuss your child’s learning with their teacher.
They provide valuable opportunities to help the teacher understand more about your child. By asking questions and finding out more about the information on your child’s report you have an opportunity to become further involved in your child's learning and give support where needed.
In order to build strong relationships between home and school, many schools request that your child attends the conference with you. It is important to prepare your child for the conference by discussing your expectations of their role during the conference, as well as any expectations communicated by the school, for example, presenting a portfolio of work.
Parent-teacher conference tips
Before the conference
- Read through your child's report and work out which specific areas you have questions about.
- If your child has started Prep and attended a kindergarten program in the previous year, you may wish to review and discuss your child's Transition Learning and Development Statement at your first parent-teacher conference.
- Ask your child if there are any questions they would like you to ask or if there is anything they would like you to tell the teacher.
- Ask your child what they think the teacher is going to tell you.
- Write a list of questions you want to ask your child's teacher and take notes during the conference so you can share the comments with your child or other members of the family.
- Think about any information you will need to let the teacher know e.g. changes that have had an impact on your child, you and your child's goals for learning.
- If you need a translator ask the school to help organise this before the conference.
During the conference
After the conference
- If you want to know about a specific area of your child's progress let your child's teacher know this at the start so you can focus the conference on this topic.
- Ask for more information on what is expected for homework and assignments. Find out how much time your child should be spending on their homework and ask for suggestions on how you can help your child at home.
- Find out more about how your child is enjoying school and taking part in class activities and whether there are any general issues with behaviour or discipline that need to be discussed.
- Ask your child's teacher to explain any extra support or extension activities mentioned in the report.
- Share with the teacher any information you consider important for them to develop a deeper understanding of your child.
- Keep in regular contact with the teacher to follow up on your agreed plan.
- Talk with your child about what you discussed with their teacher and how you can work together to improve their learning.
You can also request conferences at other times. If you are concerned about your child's progress, make an appointment to meet with their classroom teacher or year-level coordinator.