Parental Communication & Engagement

Parental Communication & Engagement

At Dormston we really appreciate the importance and benefit of working closely with our parents/carers.  ‘Parental Communication & Engagement’ is an intrinsic part of any successful school and our parents/carers support really does make a difference to our student’s success. 

It’s really important, that as a school, we are able to put ourselves ‘in your shoes’ and listen to what you say, in order to find out if there are any barriers you are facing so we develop good, positive parental communication and engagement with you all.  If you have any ideas or suggestions on how we could improve in this area please contact Karen Otton on 01384 816395 or

We do understand that as parents you may often be under pressure with busy, demanding lives and workloads, so it is important that we try to communicate with you as effectively and efficiently as possible so that we can all work together.  On a day to day basis we aim to respond to ALL parent/carer phone calls and queries within 48 hours.  This is due to the fact that many of our teachers have a full teaching timetable as well as other outside class commitments and meetings.  We also sometimes need time to look into and investigate queries to be able to respond effectively to your concerns/questions. 

‘Whole School’ Communication & Engagement Review

We started by taking a good honest look at what we did in this area and in September 2018 we undertook a Parental Communication & Engagement Survey.  Although the results were good, we still wanted to improve this area further to ensure that we are doing all that we can to communicate and engage with our parents/carers effectively in terms of ‘whole school communication’.  Good ‘Parental Communication & Engagement’ has no end and is constantly evolving.  It is a continuous commitment on our part to do everything in our power to make parents feel involved and well informed of school life.

Please see the downloads tab at the bottom of this page for our Parental Communication & Engagement  Survey Results 

Our Most Recent Improvements

Part of good ‘parental engagement’ relies on good parental communication from us as a school. We need to be contacting you and keeping you informed of when things are going well whilst also sharing relevant information that makes life easier for you in a timely fashion! Here are some of the things we have recently done as a result of our parental communication & engagement review to try and improve our communication with you in order to help foster and encourage good parental engagement.

Development of Family Learning Opportunities to engage both parents and students together in learning.  During December 2018 we facilitated a Christmas Cake Decorating Workshop followed by a Pottery Workshop in July 2018.  We are currently undertaking a Christmas Wreath Decorating Workshop and there are more exciting family learning opportunities planned for 2020.  If this is something that you are interested in please contact

In a recent survey with parents involved in Family Learning:

  • 100% of parents stated that they have enjoyed taking part in our Family Learning Sessions so far.
  • 100% of parents think it has had a positive impact on how their child feels about school.
  • 100% of parents think attending these sessions has improved how they as a parent feel about Dormston School and their child’s journey with us.
  • 100% would recommend other parents to take part in Family Learning opportunities as a result of their experience.
  • 100% are happy to continue being part of our Family Learning Opportunities.


  • An enjoyable evening where it’s quality time spent between parent and child.  Also get to know other parents, and learn new skills!”
  • “It has been wonderful, thank you”.
  • “Myself and Maddie have really enjoyed making Christmas Wreaths and Holly Balls. We feel confident to make one ourselves at home. Thank you for this experience, look forward to more.”
  • “It has been great doing these activities with my daughter. Fully recommend these to anyone.”
  • Samuel and I have both enjoyed the Christmas Floristry course. It’s always good to spend quality time together.”

Launch of “Friends of Dormston Community” Following on from our Information Evening in September 2019 we are pleased to announce that following our AGM on 14 November 2019 “Friends of Dormston Community” has officially been launched.  Our next meeting will be on 16 January 2020 where we will start sorting out the projects they will be working on in partnership.

Parents Committee Membership was reviewed, re-established and has subsequently increased from 12 to 30.  We now increasingly use our Parents’ Committee as a sounding board and seek advice from them when planning events and making changes whenever the opportunity arises, which has proved really valuable.

Headteacher/Parent Coffee Mornings – hearing first hand from our Parents/Carers about how they feel about us as a school is incredibly useful and valuable.  Groups of parents are periodically invited in to have coffee & cake with the Headteacher to discuss how things are going and if there is anything we could do to support them further.   If this is something that you are interested in being invited to or you have any suggestions about how we could further improve our Parental/Communication and Engagement both now and in the future, please contact Karen Otton on 01384 816395 or

Learner of the Month – all students who are nominated for this monthly award also receive a personal letter home from the Headteacher telling them who and why they were nominated for this very special award. The winning student’s parents are also invited in to school to see their child receive this accolade. This often turns into quite an emotional affair with both staff and parents in tears!

Introduction of a Quick Note System – parents/carers wanted to know more frequently how their child was getting on in school.  The Quick Note System gives parents/carers a simple ‘heads up’ that their child has worked hard in a particular subject, on that particular day.  This was originally just for KS3 but due to the popularity of this simple but effective system this has also now be rolled out to KS4.

‘Weekly Bulletin’ – a Weekly Bulletin is circulated every Friday now and is designed to give parents/carers a snapshot of the week ahead, giving them reminders of reply slip deadlines, payment deadlines, trips, events for that coming week.  We also share weekly sporting results and Headteacher Commendations in this bulletin. 

Monthly Update Sheet – this has been revamped and also now includes Staffing Updates, School News, Student Success Stories along with any school events that are coming up over the next two months to give parents/carers advance warning. Parents are encouraged to share any successes their child has achieved outside school for inclusion.

Increased staffing in ‘Main Reception’ at peak periods to help deal with phone calls and visitors to the school more quickly and efficiently.

Improvement to Phone System which now means we have an additional phone line which is being manned almost all day, every day.  When the main school office number is engaged, callers are diverted to another telephone that is being manned to help us answer your calls more quickly.  

Standardisation/checking process for all correspondence to improve consistency and accuracy of letters that are being sent out to our parents/carers.

ALL correspondence is now automatically uploaded to the Website – giving parents the option to look on-line if letters have got lost/mislaid. 

A move towards e-communication to assist with information being received quickly and efficiently without delay.