Preparing for Meetings

Before the Meeting

  • Know what you want to achieve from the meeting before you go - e.g. extra support or improved communication between the school and parent/carer
  • Remember - you know your child best and it is important to share all information with the school
  • It is important to find out the professionals that are going to be in the meeting beforehand.
  • If possible, give the school a list of questions beforehand – the teachers will then be able to give you the answers at the meeting.
  • If possible, look at the school’s website and read the school’s special educational needs policy before the meeting and make a note of any useful points. The policy must explain what the school does for children with special educational needs and how they work with parents. If you do not have access to the internet or cannot find the information on the school’s website, ask for a copy.
  • Ask for an interpreter if necessary and let the school know if you have any access needs.
  • Let the school know if a member of PATT is coming to the meeting with you. If we cannot attend, consider taking a friend with you for support.
  • Depending on your child’s age, sit down and talk to your child before the meeting and make sure that they’re clear about the reason for the meeting. Explain to them that the meeting will give you and their teacher the opportunity to work together in order to find ways to help them.
  • If your child is older, you can ask them to write down their views and take it along to the meeting with you.

 

During the Meeting

  • Take your list of worries, questions and points to the meeting.
  • Remember, it is important to ask for those present to introduce themselves and write down the names of everybody who is at the school meeting.
  • If you do not understand anything being said – ask for an explanation. If you still don’t understand - ask again!
  • Be assertive and take notes during the meeting so that you will have a written record of what has been discussed and/or agreed.
  • Make sure that you let your child’s teacher put their views across to you, without interrupting them. Pay careful attention and take their points on board.
  • Stay calm and try not to challenge the teacher in an aggressive way because this won’t help the situation. Getting too emotional and losing your temper will give people the impression that you are a ‘uncooperative’ parent or a ‘trouble maker’.
  • Remember you may get upset and feel cross. If this happens, ask to leave room for a short break until you feel better and back in control. Do not be afraid to go back to a point if you feel that your question has not been answered.
  • If it has been decided that the situation will be monitored, agree a timescale for reviewing progress, ideally get a date for a further meeting.
  • It is important that everything that has been agreed is written down. Ask for a copy of the document for your own records.
  • Make sure you read documents properly first and get answers to all your questions before agreeing to sign anything.