Last reviewed on 22 April 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 38469

Use our list of questions to help you review your home-school communication policy. Be clear on what good looks like with our model policy download and see examples from different types of schools.

Key facts

  • This policy is non-statutory
  • You can delegate the approval of this policy to an individual or committee
  • The board determines the review cycle
  • The headteacher and senior leadership team (SLT) will write and be responsible for the implementation of this policy

Key points to look out for 

As this policy isn't statutory, its contents can vary. We've made some suggestions below on what you might find in a home-school communication policy. 

The most important thing this policy should do is set clear communication guidelines for staff and parents.

Aims and objectives

This section might include information on why your school believes communication is important, in line with its vision, ethos and values. Aims of the policy might include:

  • Explaining how the school communicates with parents/carers
  • Setting clear standards and expectations for responding to communication
  • Helping parents/carers reach the member of school staff who is best placed to address their concern so they can get a quick response

Roles and responsibilities 

This'll feature the roles and responsibilities of different people, such as:

  • The headteacher: making sure communication with parents is effective, timely and appropriate 
  • Staff members: responding to communications from parents and working with other members of staff 
  • Parents: communicating respectfully, aiming to address communications to the appropriate member of staff and responding in a timely manner

How the school communicates with parents and carers 

This section could explain how the school keeps parents up-to-date with their child's education and what's happening in school. It may explain how and when the school uses different methods of communication to reach out to parents, such as via:

  • Email, text messages and phone calls
  • The school calendar
  • Letters
  • Homework books
  • Reports 
  • Meetings
  • School website 

How parents and carers can communicate with the school

This might explain:

  • How parents should contact the school, depending on their query or issue
  • How long the school will take to respond 

Inclusion 

It's important to include everyone in the community. This policy could list:

  • The languages in which whole-school announcements are available
  • Which arrangements the school can provide for parents who need help communicating, such as an interpreter for meetings

School contact list

It would be useful for the policy to provide a contact list for parents. It could advise them who to speak to and how to contact them (e.g. by providing an email or telephone number), based on their question, issue or complaint. 

3 key questions to challenge the policy 

1. How does this policy reflect the context of our school, staff and parents/carers?

The policy should be tailored to reflect your school's context (e.g. size and phase). It should also consider the needs of your school's parents and carers, and how they prefer to get information. For example:

  • Primary school parents probably regularly check their child's school bag for letters sent home, but relying on more independent secondary pupils to make sure parents get the information they need may be a riskier strategy
  • If most of your school's parents work full time, they may need more notice for things like events
  • If a high proportion of your school's parents speak English as an additional language (EAL), your school may need to provide translated copies of formal letters (or send electronic copies so parents can use online translation programmes)

Ask your school leaders how they've considered the needs of their demographic of parents. 

2. What is the impact of this policy on staff workload and wellbeing?

Establishing a clear communications policy is one of the commitments set out in the Department for Education's (DfE's) wellbeing charter.

To assure you they've considered workload and wellbeing, your school leaders might give evidence of how they've:

  • Set out in the policy when they expect staff to respond (e.g. by clarifying that parents shouldn't expect responses outside of core school hours)
  • Considered how parents can directly contact staff (e.g. by setting up generic, shared staff email addresses rather than using individual email addresses so staff aren't overwhelmed with messages)

3. How will we know this policy is working and being properly implemented?

It's working if it's being used - this shows that everyone can put the policy into action. 

For example, you'll know it's effective if:

  • Parents and carers know what's going on in the school and with their child
  • Parents consistently use the correct methods of communication, in a respectful manner
  • Staff consistently use the correct methods of communication, aren't overwhelmed and respond in a timely manner 

School leaders should be able to demonstrate how they know this is the case. For example, they might show you the results of a staff survey on communication. 

Model policy from The Key 

This model document is not meant as a guide for writing or updating your school's policy, since that's your school leaders' job. Instead, use it to give you a sense of what a good policy looks like. 

Our model is:

  • Designed for your school leaders to adapt to suit your school's context
  • Approved by Forbes Solicitors

Examples from schools 

Have a look at the examples below. Some schools call their policy a 'communication' policy. 

Trefonen Church of England Primary School in Shropshire has a communication policy that outlines how:

  • The school will communicate with parents
  • The school would like parents to communicate with them, including how parents can make complaints and give compliments
  • Parents can find out more details on different areas, such as their child's progress or school events 

Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School a secondary academy in Hertfordshire, has a communications policy that includes details on:

  • Who parents can contact for a range of different issues e.g. safeguarding concerns
  • How and when to contact the school via different communication methods
  • What to do if you don't receive a response from the school

Tettenhall Wood School, a special school in Wolverhampton, has a communications with parents and carers policy that features:

  • Expectations around internal and external communication, with details on confidentiality and response time 
  • What to do if your child is absent or has a medical appointment
  • Information on emergency communication procedures