Do you have a golden rule when it comes to communicating with the broader school community? Good communication supports relationships that let people in an organisation coordinate their efforts for the common good. In a school context, the challenge is to find the intersection of good communication practices that work with the new technologies which are becoming increasingly integrated into school life.
We’ve scoured the web to bring you a snapshot of the best of the collected wisdom on communication tips for schools. Here are some of the tried tested rules for communication.
Communicate in plain English
In an era of information overload, attention spans are short. Choose your words carefully and avoid the buzzwords of your profession that will not resonate with the broader community. The best communicators use simple, everyday language to get their message across.
Communicate early, communicate often
An oldie but a goodie. In a school context this means sending home positive communication regularly. Don’t wait for a crisis before you start communicating with families.
Communicate in person, if you can
This can be tough because parents can be working during school hours and scheduling a meeting at a time that suits everyone can be difficult. But don’t give up! Face to face interactions allow for parents and schools to build a sense of community through socialisation and interaction and build the base for a good working relationship.
Your staff are ambassadors
Everyone employed by a school is effectively part of the school’s PR team even when they are not at work. Ambassadors feel appreciated and informed which is great for staff morale. And a sure way to let people you know you value and trust them is to keep them in the loop. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Help parents understand their role in the education process
The most important parental involvement in a child’s education journey happens at home. Recognise parents are a child’s first and most influential teacher and support them to understand what they can do at home.
Develop a communication plan
While a lot of the communication in schools can be reactive (“The bus home from camp is running late. We need to contact parents”) there is certainly a place for a communication plan. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel but rather, consider leveraging existing resources to develop your own templates and plans. Other tips include:
- Survey and research your community to ensure you’re going to reach them.
- Go digital with your back-to-school resources to reduce call volume to the office.
- Create once, publish everywhere.
What communication tips would you give another principal?
Click here to see a case study to see how Brighton Grammar School manage their communication practices with School Stream.