Happy Parents or Unhappy Parents: The Power of Effective Communication

What key satisfaction drivers influence parents in selecting a school for their child?

It is easy to assume that parents choose schools solely on academic performance, especially when there is such a strong emphasis on NAPLAN and the reports generated from this assessment.  Although the standard of education and teaching methods are incredibly important, there is another school attribute that parents value, and unfortunately it is often overlooked.

Communication strongly contributes to a parent’s overall satisfaction of a school. Communication between schools and parents is an issue that is often raised and effects many different areas in satisfaction indicators.

Did you know that on average 22.5% of parents think that schools should focus on improving their communications?

Through effective communication 4 major areas can be addressed. Here are our findings:

1. Communication & Student Development

Continual and timely communication throughout the school year contributes to both the success of students and the school. Communication establishes strong family involvement and allows schools to build effective partnerships.

  • Parents value regular communication regarding learning outcomes and student progress from teachers. Timely communication regarding student achievement is sometimes viewed as inadequate.
  • Newsletters that are well laid out and informative are highly valued with 60% of parents on average indicating they would like this form of communication as much as weekly.
  • Email communication is ranked number 1 as the preferred communication method including information brought home by students.

2. Communication & Behaviour Management:

Bullying is a significant issue within most schools with 46% of parents on average stating that their child had been bullied on school property within the last 12 months.

  • Parents judge schools on their communication regarding bullying and their response when dealing with it. Although bullying is a significant issue within schools we found that an average of 62% of parents rated their schools response to bullying as not being adequate.
  • Many parents believe that bullying is a significant issue at their school, but an average of 18% are either unaware of their school’s procedure for dealing with bullying or think the current policy is weak or dire. Communication of this policy is important to prevent bullying, encourage respect and cooperation for all parties involved.

3. Communication & Affordability:

  • The affordability of school fees and ancillary costs is a concern to some parents especially if it is paired with dissatisfaction with academic performance and student achievement opportunities. When asked about areas that schools should focus on improving 32% of parents said the value for money offering to parents. In saying this, an average of 39.5% of parents were unsure about the availability of fee assistance or scholarships. Communication with parents in regards to the support available may help reduce attrition rates.

4. Communication & Reputation:

Do not underestimate the power of reputation. Reputation is an increasingly vital component of schools; it is a socially shared impression of expected performance based on past actions. Are you aware that 31% of parents on average are referred by a friend or family member?

  • The reputation of a private school greatly impacts the decision of parents in sending their child to a school. An average of 32.1% of parents believe that their school’s greatest strength is the reputation of students in the wider community. By communicating acceptable behaviour expected from students, and providing a range of opportunities that engage the expression of Christian values through service to others, it helps communicate school values to the wider community.

Key Take-Away

Although test scores improve enrolment rates it is important not to be one-dimensional in your schools approach to parent satisfaction. If parents are dissatisfied with your schools communication it can lead to higher attrition rates.

There was incredible support for the schools who participated in the satisfaction surveys, with an average of 96.6% of respondents saying they care about the future success of their school. Therefore imagine the difference effective communication could have in building school community partnerships that are vital to your schools success.

If you need help with your school marketing and communications, give Vividus a call.  We specialise in education marketing and are committed to help improve the wider community’s perception of your school.