Parent-teacher discussions

3 effective questions to make the most of your time at parent-teacher discussions

Parent-teacher discussions or student-led conferences, as they can be known, are a significant part of the schools reporting process that is focused on improving your child’s learning and achievement. It is an excellent opportunity for you to celebrate your child’s achievements to date and to hear how well your child is progressing and working towards their goals. Parent-teacher discussions are an important and valuable process for family and whanau to be part of, and research shows that your involvement in your child’s school and classroom has a positive impact on their learning.


At Wairakei Primary School, our parent-teacher discussions are 10 minutes long. During the first part of the discussion, your child’s teacher will focus on updating you on your child’s progress; what their strengths and weaknesses are, their achievements, their biggest challenges, and what the next focus will be for your child’s learning journey. You then have some time to ask the teacher some questions about your child, which is relatively short, so it is important to make the most of your time with your child’s teacher by asking effective questions. We have put together some practiced advice on the 3 most effective questions to ask at your next parent-teacher discussion.

        1. How well does my child interact with other students?

This is a great question to get an understanding of what your child is doing socially. It gives you an insight into their social capabilities and what they are like when interacting with their friends, and also with their classmates. Do they get along with their peers? Are they kind and contentious of others? Are they respectful of others? This question also gives your teacher the opportunity to discuss your child’s emotional health and allows you to find out how your child is really doing. For example, are they generally happy and settled at school?


        2.    Is there anything we can be doing at home to support my child?

This question provides the teacher of the opportunity to share what things you as the parent or caregiver can be doing to support your child to make academic or social progress.  It helps give you some practical ideas of what things you can do to at home to support your child and their learning development and goals. When you have this information, you and the teacher, sometimes along with your child, have the chance to create an effective plan to support their learning. Supporting your child’s goals at home will help to reinforce the learning they do in the classroom.

        3.    What is the schools plan to support my child with the areas they need to work on?

In the first part of your parent-teacher discussion, your teacher will have discussed any areas of weakness, your child’s biggest challenge or challenges, and what the focus will be on next for your child to progress further. Asking this question allows you to find out what activities, services or support that the school has available to help your child advance further in any areas. While this question gives you a gauge of what the school has on offer, and what they will be doing extra for your child, it will also in turn allow you get a better gauge on what things you could be doing at home as well.


Asking effective questions like these will allow you to make the most of your time with your child’s teacher. You can always make another time with the teacher if you have more questions, don’t feel like your questions have been answered enough, or would like to discuss your questions further.


We look forward to celebrating your child’s learning at our upcoming parent-teacher discussions in August. Get in touch for details on booking your appointment slot.

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