Writing to a parent about their child’s behaviour is a sensitive task for teachers. Many parents may be unaware of problems at school whilst others do not take kindly to criticism of their child. Finding the right tone for the letter is essential. It must set out what the problems are whilst assuring parents that you want to work with them to improve the situation.
Make it clear from the beginning of the letter that this is a formal matter. Use paper headed with the school’s logo and address the parents with their name and title. Explain in the opening paragraph that you are writing to them because you have concerns about their child’s behaviour.
Outline your concerns clearly and in detail. Gives times and dates if you are referring to particular incidents and relate what happened to the school’s behaviour policy. Keep to the facts and avoid giving opinions that might offend the parents.
Explain what you have done to try and address the problem so far and what the outcomes have been. Tell the parents how long the behaviour problems have been going on. Mention the impact on other children in the class.
Be clear that you want to work with the parents to address the behaviour problems. Tell them what you want to happen and ask them to be part of the solution. You may want to suggest a meeting with the parents or simply ask them to speak to their child. Be specific about what you would like them to do. You can outline some of your plans to address behaviour but you will also need to make clear the consequences of bad behaviour continuing.
Offer to meet the parents even if you don’t think it is immediately necessary. Provide your contact details. End the letter on a positive note, stating that you look forward to seeing an improvement in the child’s behaviour.
Behaviour policies should be communicated to all parents at once a year. Head teachers are under a legal obligation to produce a written document and share this with staff and teachers. Parents should not be surprised when this policy is raised with them.
Letters can also be sent praising a pupil for consistently good behaviour. Praise and reward for type of behaviour, for example standing up to bullying, can reinforce the school’s efforts to tackle the issue.