i‑Learner Education Centre


Parents ask us about…Parent-Teacher Communication

The following questions were asked by our parents during our recent webinar ‘Unlocking the Power of Parent-Teacher Communication‘ and were answered by a very experienced primary school teacher who has also held a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCo) role.

If you have any questions for our bilingual team (English and Cantonese), reach out via email contact@seven-springs.co.uk

What is the difference between trying to contact teachers at primary school and secondary school?

Primary School:

  • Contact the school office:
    • Make an appointment for non-urgent matters like discussing your child’s progress. This may not be immediate, but usually within the same week.
    • Ask to speak to the Deputy Head or Head Teacher for urgent matters, such as your child being unwell at school and needing to be picked up.
  • Teachers are usually busy:
    • Don’t approach them directly before or after school, as they are often preparing for lessons, attending meetings, or running clubs.
    • They don’t usually give out personal contact information, like email addresses or phone numbers.
  • Informal communication:
    • During drop-off or pick-up, you may ask quick questions about daily routines, like “Does my child need to bring an extra snack tomorrow?” or “If my child becomes unwell, could you please let me know?”

Secondary School:

  • Ask your child to talk to the teacher first:
    • This helps them develop independent problem-solving skills. Encourage them to ask subject-specific questions directly from the relevant teacher.
  • Contact the school office if your child can’t talk to the teacher:
    • They can help you arrange an appointment with the appropriate staff member.
  • Teachers are subject-specific:
    • If you have a question about a specific subject like maths or history, ask to speak with the teacher for that subject.
  • Make appointments for non-urgent matters:
    • Similar to primary schools, this helps ensure the teacher has dedicated time to address your concern.
  • For urgent matters, ask to speak to the year group leader if the teacher cannot meet:
    • They can address urgent concerns or assist you in contacting the appropriate teacher.


  • Be polite and clear in your communication.
  • Schools welcome parental involvement and are happy to answer your questions about your child’s education.

Read our response in full here.

My child is starting at a new school in the UK, what information should I be telling the school about them before they start?

When you apply or start school, the school office will ask for details about your child:

  • Basic information: Full name, address, date of birth, and your contact numbers.
  • Communication: Your email or WhatsApp number (used for school closures or updates).
  • Health: Any medical conditions, medication needs, and your doctor’s information.
  • Family: Any siblings or relatives at the school, and pick-up arrangements (if someone else takes your child).
  • Family situation: Any important details about your family (especially if they affect your child).
  • Learning needs: Any diagnosed special educational needs or concerns you have about your child.

Optional but helpful information:

  • About your child: A short summary of their home country, hobbies, and even some everyday words in their home language. This can help the class welcome your child and learn about their background.


  • Sharing this information helps the school care for your child and support their learning.
  • Schools are happy to answer your questions about any of this information.

Read our response in full here.

What advice would you give to a parent who wants to speak to their child’s teacher but isn’t sure if they can or how to?

Teachers want you to be involved in your child’s learning.

If you have questions or worries about your child’s learning or wellbeing, you can meet the teacher.

  • Book an appointment through the school office.
  • If you need help understanding English, you can bring someone with you to translate, just let the office know.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the teacher to repeat things or explain them again if you don’t understand. They are there to help!

Call the school or visit the office today to make an appointment!

Remember, talking to the teacher is important for your child’s success in school.

Read our response in full here.

What are school reports like? How much information will I get about my child’s progress?

What’s in the Report?

  • Primary School:
    • Details on each subject, with more information on Literacy, Numeracy, and Science.
    • Strengths and areas for improvement.
    • Behavior and attitude towards learning.
    • Attendance record.
    • Teacher comments, and sometimes a Head Teacher comment.
    • Year 1: Phonics test results (if applicable).
    • Year 2: Optional reading, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and math test results (if used by the school).
    • Year 4: Multiplication Tables Check results.
    • Year 6: Year 6 SAT results (reading, spelling, grammar/punctuation, math).
  • Secondary School:
    • Individual reports from each subject teacher on progress and attitude.
    • A general report from the Form Tutor on attitude, behavior, social, and emotional well-being.
    • May include mock exam or test results.

Other Information:

  • Interim Reports (Secondary): Short reports sent mid-year, often with expected and current levels for each subject, and grades for attitude, effort, and attendance.
  • Parents’ Evenings: Meetings held once per term for parents and teachers to discuss progress and raise concerns.


  • Reports are important to understand your child’s learning journey.
  • Ask the school or teacher for help if you don’t understand something.
  • Use reports to celebrate achievements and discuss areas for improvement with your child.
  • Work with the teacher to support your child’s learning.

Read our response in full here.

My child is about to do her GCSEs. She got what I consider to be a low mark in her school report but the teacher said she did well. What can I do as I want her to get a better grade?

  1. Meet the teacher: Schedule a meeting with the subject teacher and bring the report along.
  2. Understand levels: Ask the teacher to explain the expected level for your child’s age group and compare it to their current level in the report. Ask questions if anything is unclear or you disagree.
  3. Understand the grade: Ask the teacher to explain what the current grade means in practical terms. What kind of work did your child do to earn this grade? Are there examples they can share?
  4. Future goals: Ask the teacher what grade they expect your child to achieve in their final exams (GCSEs).
  5. Discuss expectations: If your expectations differ from the teacher’s, explain your concerns. For example, say, “I thought Natalie could get a higher grade like an 8 or 9.”
  6. Seek solutions: Ask the teacher for suggestions on how to help your child improve their grade. They may have ideas for activities or resources to support your child’s learning.


  • Talking to the teacher is a good way to understand your child’s progress and support their learning.
  • Be clear about your questions and concerns.
  • Work together with the teacher to help your child succeed.

Read our response in full here.

If a child is behind at school but the teacher believes that they will catch up over time, how will the teacher express this to the parent? What will they say at parent’s evening or in a school report?

Starting in a new country:

  • Teachers expect new students to take time to adjust. They will offer support to help your child reach their potential.
  • Language barriers can be a challenge. Talk to the teacher about creating a glossary of terms together (like “fraction”) to help your child understand the lessons.

Catching Up:

  • If the teacher feels your child needs extra help, they will discuss it with you.
  • Ask how you and the school can help your child catch up. This could be through school support or activities at home.
  • Ask the teacher their opinion on your child’s progress:
    • Do you share the concern that your child is behind?
    • What areas does your child need to develop?
    • What is the school doing to help?
    • How long might it take for your child to catch up?
    • Can you schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss progress?

Understanding Reports:

  • Primary school reports:
    • Show your child’s progress in each subject.
    • Include test results (Years 1, 2*, 4, and 6) if applicable.
  • Parents’ evenings:
    • Offer opportunities to discuss your child’s achievements and any catching-up they may need.
  • Secondary school reports:
    • Provide information about tests, exams, and progress.
  • Secondary school parents’ evenings:
    • Allow you to discuss your child’s progress and how you can help them at home.
  • Contact the teacher:
    • If you have any concerns, schedule a meeting to discuss them.


  • Communication between you and the teacher is key to supporting your child’s success.
  • Be open and honest about your concerns.
  • Work together with the school to help your child reach their full potential.

Read our response in full here.

How strict are the definitions for SEN in the UK? / How easy is it to get my child’s needs recognised or diagnosed and where can I get help from?

What are Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

  • A child has SEN if they have learning difficulties or disabilities that require extra support in school.
  • This might be because they learn differently than most other children of the same age, or they have a disability that affects their ability to learn.

How can you get help?

  • Every school has a SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) who can offer advice and support.
  • Primary School:
    • Start by talking to your child’s class teacher.
    • Share your concerns and ask if they agree.
    • Ask about the support already in place and how you can help at home.
    • If you want to involve a specialist, ask about speaking to the SENCO.
  • Secondary School:
    • Talk to your child’s Form Tutor and share your concerns.
    • They may involve the SENCO if needed.
    • Together, they can discuss what support your child needs, which may include:
      • In-class support from the teacher or a Learning Support Assistant.
      • Adapted learning materials or resources.
      • Small group or individual support.
      • Specialist help.

Important Note:

  • When talking to teachers, it helps if you take a specific list of your concerns or things you have noticed.
  • Getting support for your child can take time due to various factors such as budget constraints and resource availability.
  • Schools are committed to supporting all children, but the level of readily available resources may vary across the UK.


  • Early intervention and open communication with the school are key.
  • The SENCO and other school staff are there to help you and your child.

Read our response in full here.

My child only gets one piece of homework a week. How can I ‘stretch’ my child’s learning?

Homework in UK Schools:

  • Different schools have different views on homework:
    • Some believe learning should happen mostly in school, with free time at home for other activities.
    • Others believe homework is important for learning progress.
  • It’s important to find a healthy balance between homework and other activities.

Primary School:

  1. Explore your child’s curriculum:
    • Check the school website for information on topics covered in your child’s year group.
    • Discuss these topics with your child.
  2. Support learning at home:
    • Find age-appropriate books or practice books related to the topics.
    • Help your child practice reading, spelling, and multiplication tables (tested in Year 4).
    • Find fun online resources for practice.
  3. Seek teacher advice:
    • Talk to the teacher about areas for development and how you can help at home.
  4. Connect learning to real life:
    • Visit museums, zoos, and places of interest related to your child’s learning.
    • Discuss these experiences together.

Secondary School:

  1. Explore the curriculum:
    • Check the school website or ask the admin office for information on your child’s curriculum.
  2. Improve specific subjects:
    • Make appointments with relevant subject teachers for advice on improving specific topics.
  3. Use resources:
    • Buy practice books related to GCSE subjects.
    • Visit museums and places of interest to connect learning to real life.


  • Everyday experiences can be learning opportunities for your child.
  • Work with the school and find ways to support your child’s learning journey at home.

Read our response in full here.