How to prepare for your first parents' evening as an ECT?


Life as an early careers teacher (ECT) features plenty of challenges, and perhaps none more so than facing up to your first parents’ evening.

But fear not, as preparation really is key to ensuring all goes smoothly. From fostering positive conversations to planning your time wisely and overcoming potential issues, here are some of the essential things to consider.

Start each meeting confidently

From smiling and sharing a positive greeting, to shaking hands and making eye contact with the parents, you should start each meeting confidently. This helps to build a rapport with them and shows that you are ready for the conversation. Avoid being withdrawn or reserved as this can come across as a sign of disinterest.

Look to create a positive environment for conversation

Most parents will have their children’s best interests at heart, and if they think you do as well, they’re more likely to open up and voice any issues or concerns. Try to ascertain what they know of their child’s life at school, such as whether they are happy or facing issues, and use the answers to further the conversation on how best each child can be supported. Insights into a pupil’s life at home can often prove invaluable when dealing with issues in the classroom, so it’s important to take advantage of the opportunities that parents’ evening provides.

Have the essential discussion points to hand

Ahead of parents’ evening, make sure you have all the key numbers and notes that you may need to form the basis of a discussion. From a child’s predicted grades or mock exam results to the number of classroom awards they may have been given, it can help to strengthen the points you make and highlight areas for improvement. These numbers can often be used as an indicator of progress too, even if it is somewhat simplistic. You may even wish to have a set of keywords for each child, designed to jog your memory or to act as a conversation starter.

Take lots of notes

Not only does note-taking provide you with a reference point for future discussions and target setting, but it is also a sign for the parents that you’re invested in their child’s education. This is especially important when looking to tackle key issues, as you’ll have a note of any actions you might need to take in the classroom.

Set some targets for pupils

Having talked through a child’s performance, as well as their strengths and weaknesses, look to discuss some specific targets which can then be measured. This gives a youngster something to work towards, and in some instances can help parents to push their child to achieve their full potential.

Don’t be concerned if you can’t answer all questions

Parents might sometimes quiz you on complicated issues or ask about something you don’t know. This can happen regularly at parents’ evenings, so be sure to note it down and follow it up with a call or email in the days that follow. By taking this approach, an ECT has the time to seek appropriate answers and many parents will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to resolve their query.

Useful resources

For a host of useful resources on overcoming your first parents’ evening as an ECT, check out Twinkl and schools, students and teachers network (ssat). We also recommend talking to other school staff in the run-up to the evening itself, as they’ll often have handy tips and insights based on their own experiences.

Supporting ECTs with finding their perfect role in education

Securing your first role as an ECT can be a daunting thought, Tradewind Recruitment can help ECTs with CV writing and interview prep; we’ve also compiled our top tips to help you in the classroom.

If you’re an ECT looking for your first role in education, check out our current ECT vacancies live on the website.