Communicating

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

Engaging families and staff in regular, meaningful two-way communication about children and young people’s learning needs.

Based on research and examples of best practice from schools across Victoria and Australia, these strategies will assist schools to build on their existing practices and to consider new ways of engaging with families with the aim of improving children and young people’s learning outcomes.

Schools are not required to implement every strategy. Rather principals, teachers and school staff are encouraged to select strategies appropriate to their school environment and use the case studies and tools to build on and strengthen their family partnerships. 

Strategies

1. Ensuring families and teachers discuss student’s social and academic progress

What success looks likeCase studyTools
  • Teachers make contact with all families at the start of the year to establish positive relationships. Families can regularly and easily communicate with teachers 
  • Teachers regularly contact families with positive news as well as concerns about the student. Teachers and families agree on preferred methods of communication e.g. email, diary notes or phone messages and appropriate timelines for response.
  • Teachers, families and the student discuss the student’s learning styles, strengths and academic performance and develop goals to support learning at school and at home.

2. Using a variety of communication methods

What success looks likeTools
  • Schools use effective communication tools such as one-on-one meetings newsletters, the school website and printed notices to notify families of upcoming events in the relevant community languages
  • Schools and families develop direct connections through a variety of ways such as phone calls, emails or arrange meetings with families at community centres, e.g. Koorie cooperatives or local migrant centre
  • Schools and families develop strong partnerships that allow them to communicate formally and informally on a regular basis.

3. Sharing school progress with families

What success looks like

  • Principals share the student achievement data with the school community via the website, newsletters and the Annual Report to the School Community.
  • Principals use student achievement data to initiate dialogue with families about school improvement.
  • Principals work with families and School Council to develop strategies to support school improvement. 

4. Consulting with families to identify issues and concerns within the school

What success looks likeTools
  • The Parent Opinion Survey is translated in relevant community languages, distributed in various ways e.g. via online, in print and by phone. All families are encouraged to participate and provide feedback on the results.
  • Parent Opinion survey data results are reflected in the Schools’ Annual Report to the School Community and Annual Improvement Plan. Any actions arising from this data are also provided. 
  • School hold regular forums at venues and at times that are accessible to families in a relaxed, open manner to ensure families have an avenue to identify and discuss issues and concerns. Interpreters are in attendance.


 

5. Ensuring the Principal is available to families

What success looks like
  • Principals share information at Parent Clubs meetings, and are available by appointment for follow-up discussions.
  • Principals have a visible presence within the school, meet regularly with parents in small groups or one-on-one, and are known in the community.
  • Principals regularly engage in communication with families through online family-school discussion forums such as nings, wikis or blogs

6. Providing families with an avenue to discuss concerns

What success looks likeTools
  • Schools ensure parents are aware of their rights and are provided with information on how to raise concerns.
  • Schools have a concerns and complaints policy that clearly outlines parents’ rights and has been developed in consultation with the school community.
  • Information regarding parental rights and the complaints process, both within and beyond the school, is made available in relevant community languages; the school leadership team ensures parents have ready access to this information.

7. Providing families with opportunities to discuss local community issues

What success looks like

  • Principals and school staff are available to families to discuss their concerns about community issues e.g. swimming pool.
  • Principals keep School Council informed of families concerns around student learning and teaching and community issues.
  • Schools act as a voice for the families to the community e.g. attending local council meetings where appropriate.