Case Study: Learning to Listen has benefits

How an outstanding school increased parent engagement and satisfaction by learning to listen empathetically.


An outstanding school was looking to increase their parent satisfaction levels but in a climate of increasing budget pressures and demands including more parents than ever before wanting external assessments and support as well as staff being stretched ever further in terms of manageable workloads, school survey data was not looking as positive as they needed.


To provide support and input into how staff could more positively and effectively address parent satisfaction feedback.


Speaking with staff and the Headteacher, I was able to identify a number of key issues that centred around effective communication with parents. Staff identified that they needed to demonstrate that they were listening, showing empathy and understanding of the parent’s need and appearing less “cold”.

Bespoke to the school’s needs, a targeted training course was developed and delivered incorporating Empathetic Listening Skills. Delivered as part of staff development, training incorporated practical ways in which staff could engage with parents in brief, conversational ways unpicking areas for concern and identifying action points and responding effectively ensuring that parents felt heard.


Teacher feedback demonstrated how helpful they found the techniques they had learnt and how it had helped them understand and improve their communication not just with parents but with their families and friends. Parent feedback also positively reflected the impact of the training and as a result, this training has now been incorporated into a rolling programme of staff development.