R.E.A.L Education have a Parent Group which is run by one of the Learning Managers. This group was set up to support our parents at R.E.A.L. The Parent Group Lead will liaise with Learning Managers and staff to ask if any parents require any additional support whilst their young person attends R.E.A.L.
There is a Facebook group, where parents can only gain access with an invite from The Parent Group Lead and this is closely monitored. This is a closed group where people are free to speak and share information and articles of interest to other parents.
There are two parents that have been with R.E.A.L for a a number of years and have experience of how R.E.A.L works. When new parents come to R.E.A.L they will go with The Parent Group Lead to meet them and discuss first hand the experiences that they have had with R.E.A.L. This helps answer any questions they may have from a parent perspective.
A coffee morning is held once a month to meet with the parents. Parents express how useful this is and feel that this gives them them opportunity to off load and know that they are not on their own.
At times the meeting can be a more formal approach and gain opinion from parents of things that are working well and not so well for R.E.A.L and how we can improve. This has helped steer many support sessions and developments throughout R.E.A.L. Some of which are:
- Behaviour Management session – To help parents with de-escalating behaviour in the home and techniques run by Jon Glover Physical Intervention Coordinator
- Autism sessions – Linda Lyn-Cook our Autism specialist came to speak with the parents to help with any advice and support they may need.
- EHCP support – Maria Wills has also offered support and advice for individuals on ECHP
- Transitions in and out of REAL – The Transitions Lead came to discuss what REAL can offer if they progress with us, and also how we support those students leaving us.
A wellbeing session is also being organised to help give that extra level of support to our parents to make sure they are aware of their own wellbeing.
On the R.E.A.L website there is a Parent Portal section to which parents are given access with a login and password. On here they can find, term dates, safeguarding advice, befriending team, and a meet our tutors section. In the meet our tutors there are photos of our Tutors and their names. It is hoped with this that it helps with any anxieties or stresses that parents and students have.
Parents are always encouraged to make suggestion on how we can make things better for their young person, to help lessen the anxiety of coming to R.E.A.L. It has also been noted that it would be good to have a ‘virtual walk around’ our venues so this is something that is currently being developed. Our IT team are also in the process of developing a section on our attendance app for parents to log in to see if their young person attended, where they were and what their sessions were.
The Parent Group Lead is always available for parents to make contact with. Regular informal meetings are also arranged with individual parents if they require any additional support.