There are always concerns when school holidays occur – will learners remember what they have been taught? How much reading will they engage with and what will they be doing to maintain their communication skills? It’s important to maintain the school-home relationship while schools are closed. So, what can we do to help parents support literacy skills over the festive period, and how can we focus conversations with parents when schools reopen in January?

Checking-in with learners and their families before Christmas

Don’t make it a surprise for parents when you do make contact after Christmas. Before the end of term, continue to communicate with parents. Offer guidance and support for reading at home, as well as pointers for any homework tasks. Highlight the importance of reading for pleasure and looking for opportunities to develop communication skills. For further tips, see our ‘top tips for communicating with parents’ guide.

‘Good news’ phone calls

Get the positive phone calls going (if you haven’t done so already) so that parents don’t fear the worst when you make contact after Christmas. It is great to develop a positive school-home relationship with parents, so they know that you celebrate success and not just communicate negatives.

Celebrate progress and make a plan

Revisit your one-page profiles with learners and their parents to highlight the progress that has been made over a term. Reinforce the positives with an outline of how to maintain this progress outside of school. Look for opportunities for learners and parents to amend and update the one-page profile so it is accurate for the start of the spring term.

Set a ‘holiday diary’

Learners could create a diary that details what they have done over the festive period. They can share things that excited them, how they spent their time and generally communicate their experiences over the holidays. Ask parents to support this piece of work by suggesting ideas or interesting vocabulary for their child to include. This doesn’t have to be prose – simple bullet points for different activities and events will still be helpful.

Home activities

You can support parents with ideas on some activities that they can do with their children at home. These activities can then be a focus for discussion when you communicate with learners and their parents after the holidays. Need inspiration? Check out our 10 minute writing activities pack!

How can DYT help?

Driver Youth Trust has a suite of professional learning and development activities for teachers, teaching assistants and school leaders. We believe every young person should access the highest quality education that is responsive to their literacy needs. Our webinars, workshops and programmes are designed to support educators to develop their practices in order to better meet the needs of learners with literacy difficulties. Check out our professional learning offer here!

Kenny Wheeler

Senior Consultant Teacher, DYT

Kenny became a SENCo in 2002 and worked in senior leadership roles for over ten years. He has led SEN and Inclusion departments to Outstanding and was recognised as a lead SEND practitioner. Through consultancy, raising leadership capability and improving provision for SEND, he has delivered support to schools across the country.