- The guardian consultation will appear in the parent portal but they won't be notified. If you wish to notify guardians through email, you can create a new mail merge email to remind guardians to log in to the parent portal.
- If you'll be setting up meetings that will take place during the next academic year, you won't be able to use Guardian Consultations. Instead, you can set up meetings.
Go to Students > Parents and Guardians > Guardians Consultations. The Guardian Consultations Dashboard allows you to view the list of upcoming Parent's Evening sessions, previous Parent's Evening sessions and allocate new Parent's Evening Sessions.
To set up a Parent's Evening, click on the +Add.
From this slide over you can start setting up the basic details for a Parent's Evening.
- Consultation Name: This can easily be edited by clicking on the default wording and typing your own Consultation Name.
- Consultation Starts: Click on the calendar to select the Date and Time you would like the meetings to start.
- Consultations Ends: Click on the calendar to select the Date and Time you would like the meetings to end.
- Self Scheduling Opens (if your school uses Parent Portal): Click on the calendar to select the Date and Time you would like guardians to start booking their meeting slots.
- Self Scheduling Closes (if your school uses Parent Portal): Click on the calendar to select the Date and Time you would like guardians to stop booking their meeting slots.
If the Parent's Evening starts on the 1st of March Self Scheduling can be open from the 5th of February, enabling the guardians to book their slot. You can set Self Scheduling to be closed by the 20th of February. This means after the 20th February the guardian is no longer able to use Parent Portal to book their slot.
Once you click Save Changes you will go to an overview page where you can view and amend (by simply clicking on 'Title') any of the information that was input into the slide over initially.
The second section of this page shows you a Scheduling Status overview.
This outlines :
- The number of meetings that have been planned
- If all time slots have been set up and linked to relevant Staff members
- How many guardian meetings have been booked.
To set up a meeting, click +Add.
You will then be asked to choose one of the following :
Plan meetings with registration form tutors: This allows you to plan meetings for each student member of a registration form, setting their form tutor(s) as participants, and shows meetings are available to primary guardians on the parent portal if self-scheduling is open.
Plan meetings with non-registration form tutors: This allows you to plan meetings between each student member of a registration form and any staff member and and shows meetings are available to primary guardians on the parent portal if self-scheduling is open.
Plan meetings with course leads: This allows you to consider each student in a registration form and plans a meeting for each course they are enrolled in with the respective teacher of the course, as well as showing meetings as available to primary guardians on the parent portal if self-scheduling is open.
Plan custom meetings: This allows you to plan arbitrary meetings between any students and staff members.
The most common is Plan meetings with registration form tutors so this will be used as an example.
- All Registration Forms will be selected by default. Depending on the nature of the Parent’s Evening you can either leave all of these selected or de-select the Registration Forms that will not have a Parent’s Evening.
- Suggested Duration indicates how long the school would like each meeting to last, by clicking the clock icon, you can select the length of each meeting.
- Location can be selected from the drop-down box but this does not need to be recorded.
- Separate Meetings is automatically selected but can be de-selected. When this is ticked, this means that guardians can book a meeting at a different time from another guardian; be it due to time discrepancies, family issues, court orders etc. Please note that this is not editable once the guardian consultation has been set up, and you won't be able to see which option was chosen.
Click on Setup registration form meetings button to proceed.
Once this is done you will see that the Meetings Planned section is now completed as it is marked in green.
From the left-hand side, menu select Staff Availability.
Click the +Add button from the top of the page. In the slide over, select between Register staff Availability (meaning you can set availability for single staff members) or Bulk set staff Availability to set the same availability for all of your staff.
Add single staff availability
A slide over will appear where you can select the staff member and select their periods of eligibility.
In my example, Ashley Harrison is available between 3 and 5 on each day, so I'll need to set up two periods of eligibility for him.
Bulk set staff Availability
A slide-over will come up and automatically all staff members will be selected, you can either leave all of these selected or de-select the staff members that will be available at a different time. Select Dates and set up the start time and end time for each day accordingly.
Once this is done, if you return to the Overview, you will see that the Availability periods set up for all staff section is now completed and it will be marked in green.
Booking a meeting manually
Meetings can now be viewed by either Staff Members or by Registration Form.
All Staff Names and Registration Form Names are clickable. If you click, you will be taken to a new page where you can see how many meetings have actually been booked.
Clicking on a meeting will bring up a slide-over where the slot can be booked. Leave both guardians selected should they like to attend the meeting together.
You can also change the room for the individual room if needed from this slide over.
You may also book a custom meeting by clicking the Book custom time-slot button to set up a meeting at a different time and date from what is currently available for the Parent’s Evening.
Once this is done you will see that the Meeting Booked numbers on the overview page has now changed since a meeting was booked.
To cancel unbooked meetings, select all the meetings using the tick boxes on the left-hand side, then click the blue pencil icon.
To cancel meetings that have already been booked, click into the specific meeting. In the slide over, click Unschedule. Alternatively, you can change the time slot, or move the meeting to a custom time slot.
Changing the room for all meetings
If you need to change the room for all the meetings, you should select all the meetings and delete them in bulk. You'll then need to set them up again.
If you have more than one staff member assigned to a class, you might not be able to book meetings right away. To allow meetings to be booked, you'll need to make some changes to the setup. First, you'll need to know whether just one teacher will be doing all the guardian consultations slots for the class, or whether they will both be taking some during the duration of the guardian consultation.
Scenario 1 - The guardian consultation will only be done by one teacher.
You'll just need to go into the meetings, select all the tick boxes on the left-hand side, then click the blue pencil icon to change the teacher.
Amend the teacher to just the one teacher, then click the Change Staff button at the bottom of the slide over. You should then be able to book slots.
Scenario 2 - Either teacher could take the consultation slot
In this case, the solution will depend on whether both teachers will take random slots, or if they will each have set times they are available for.
If teachers will take random slots, you'll need to make sure their calendar is completely free/cover has been allocated to all of their classes for the full duration of the guardian consultation. You can take a look at our articles on Cover for how to assign cover.
If teachers will be taking one day each or something similar, you'll need to amend the individual staff member's availability. To do this, click the staff member in the Meetings section. Select the bookable periods field at the top.
In the slide over, click Edit, then you can change the times the staff member is available for, then click Save Changes.
You'll then need to complete the same action as in scenario 1 so that sessions can be booked with the specific staff member when they are free. You might also need to amend the availability of other staff members.
You might need to delete the meetings you've set up for a particular group of students e.g. a registration form, or even the whole guardian consultation if you've set it up incorrectly.
Option 1 - Cancelling meetings
To cancel unbooked meetings click into the staff member or registration form to delete sessions for.
Select all the meetings using the tick boxes on the left-hand side, then click the blue pencil icon. Select Cancel unbooked meetings.
To cancel meetings that have already been booked, click into the specific meeting. In the slide over, click Unschedule. You'll need to repeat this for every booked meeting.
Option 2 - Deleting the Guardian Consultation
If you want to delete the whole guardian consultation, you'll need to first unschedule every booked meeting (shown above) for every student group.
Then on the Overview page, you'll be able to click the red Cancel Guardian Consultation button.
Using guardian consultations for virtual meetings
Due to Covid-19, many of our schools are hosting virtual guardian consultations rather than meeting in person. You can use our Guardian Consultations feature with the parent portal to enable parents to book the meeting online.
You can let parents know that they can specify in the notes when booking the guardian consultation how they would like to do the consultation e.g. by phone, video chat etc.
You can view these notes from within the guardian consultation page by selecting the meeting. Then follow up with sending the guardian links using an email from their profile or add a new note so the guardian can see more details.
How to schedule meetings for new students
If you've got new students added after the guardian consultation was set up they won't automatically have meetings set up for them.
To schedule them, just click +Add in your guardian consultation to create meetings in the same way you completed step 2 above. Don't worry - this won't create duplicate meetings for the other students, it'll just create new meetings for the new students.
Adding a break in Guardian Consultations
You can schedule a break for staff in your guardian consultation (parents evening) by adjusting the availability period for the staff member.
To do this, go to Students > Parents & Guardians > Guardian Consultations and select your Parents Evening. Click on Staff Availability from the left-hand menu.
This will bring up a list of the staff and their availability. Click onto the staff member you wish to change to bring up a slide over with their availability.
Change the Available until field to the time that the staff member wants to start their break and click Save Changes.
Next, click on the +Add in the top right and add in a new availability period starting when the staff member's break ends.
Once this has been done, you should see that there are two entries for the staff member on the list - one prior to the break and one after. Parents will be able to book slots for both periods, but not for the break in between.