Hybrid parents' evenings

As we move out of the 'restrictions phase' of the Covid-19 pandemic and look forward to being able to meet in a more familiar, traditional manner, two burning questions for all of us should be: What lessons have we learned since the pandemic began, and what technology or advancements were implemented, succeeded and should be part of the our future?

Distance learning, parental engagement and effectively connecting parents and teachers virtually were amongst the biggest hurdles for schools during Covid restrictions, and one of the almost-universal improvements brought about by the pandemic is the world's more familiar use with video meetings.

In general, virtual parents' evenings were much-praised because they lowered barriers to access, made sure that meetings started and ended at the correct times and allowed meetings to take place when they otherwise could not have. It was also notable that schools that ran video parents' evenings generally had their best-attended parents' evenings ever.

Parents appreciated being able to join meetings from work or home, which helped with childcare or transport. Equally, the convenience of being able to attend while taking a work break, when the parent might otherwise not have been able to attend parents' evenings, should not be underestimated. Accessability is a key factor in parental engagement and attendance.

Being able to support teachers working from home or off-site, as well as at school, has also been such an improvement for staff. That teachers who use Parents Booking can now even create their own mini-parents' evenings, at times that suit them, inviting selected parents, means that parents' evenings can be much more 'on demand' both now and in the future.

The Future

We set ourselves the challenge of creating a 'best of both worlds' solution to the burning questions listed in paragraph one, and it became obvious some time ago that the ability for schools to 'merge' the distinct benefits of virtual and in-person meetings together was what was needed.

While we've been innovating, we've also noticed confusion amongst schools about how next to proceed - what is the future? Some schools will have naturally assumed going back to in-person meetings was best for them, when possible. Others have been saying since their first video parents' evening that they'd continue with video meetings because of the benefits (accessability and convenience chief among them). The good news is that there is a way to live the best of both worlds - parents who can and want to visit school can be allowed to, whereas parents who can only join online, or prefer the conveneince of this, can be allowed to as well. We call these hybrid parents' evenings.

Schools who use Parents Booking and its video module can create a hybrid of in-person and virtual parents' evenings in a few seconds. All you need to do is choose the 'Hybrid' option when creating your parents' evening.

Below is a training video which demonstrates the steps and shows you how hybrid parents' evenings work. Have a look, and reach out to our support team if you need any help. We'd also love to hear your ideas to push hybrid meetings forward - if you have any great ideas for new features, pop us some thoughts in an email.