This week marks the return to school for pupils across the country, many of whom have not stepped inside the classroom since March.
It is, of course, crucial for pupils to return to their learning environment and benefit from face to face teaching as studies state that many pupils are up to three months behind on their education due to the partial closure of schools and lack of access to technology.
However, with school routines and procedures altered in light of the pandemic, communication is increasingly important to not only keep pupils and teachers safe but to provide reassurance and a continued sense of community during these challenging times.
From how lunchtimes will work to the reintroduction of Government-led non-attendance fines, the new term is raising many questions and concerns from parents and staff. To settle any unease and uncertainty around the return to school, leaders should engage with pupils, parents and staff through meaningful and consistent communication.
We have set out some school communication tips below for how school leaders can manage back-to-school communications in the current pandemic:
Provide clear information to pupils and staff
It is essential that your pupils and teachers are aware of the measures that will be introduced and how the school will be operating to ensure everyone is safe and well.
Providing both your families and staff with information packs that outline the school’s guidance and safety measures is a great way to do this. It is important to make sure this guidance is clear and use images and diagrams wherever possible to ensure the information is accessible to all your parents and pupils.
Share photos and videos of the classroom
One way to encourage your pupils to feel confident and happy about returning to school is by providing images of the new layout and setups around the school.
Both sharing videos and images beforehand to prepare pupils, as well as having clear signage and maps of one-way systems in school, will provide them with the information they need and avoid any confusion or concern.
Refer back to the Government guidance
When communicating about your new measures, it is beneficial to refer to the Government’s guidance. This will remind pupils of the significance of the measures and emphasise to your parents and community that these are Government imposed regulations and not within the autonomy of the school.
Offer one to one support to parents
Some parents or pupils might require that extra level of support or reassurance when returning to school. Offering one to one consultations to talk through the new regulations and provide more information about the expectations of attendance will help to calm any nerves.
If you need support with your back-to-school communications, check out our Education PR services page or get in contact with us by emailing [email protected] and our expert team will be able to support and guide you.