Looking for help with the Guardian Consultation you've set up? Take a look at our FAQ and troubleshooting tips.
You'll need the Guardian Consultations: Administer permission to perform the steps below - if you don't have this permission you can ask your team to assign it to you using these instructions.
Setting up a guardian consultation
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.
If your guardian consultation runs across multiple days, you'll need to set staff availability to make sure there aren't sessions parents can book outside of working hours (shown in step 3 below). If you set up multiple guardian consultations instead, parents can book multiple meetings, so we advise to only set up one guardian consultation.
To set up your guardian consultation, go to Students > Parents and Guardians > Guardians Consultations and click +Add.
From the 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. You can only select one room here.
- 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.
If your guardian consultation runs across multiple days, you'll need to set staff availability to make sure there aren't sessions parents can book outside of working hours. If you set up multiple guardian consultations instead, parents can book multiple meetings.
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, Theo is available between 3.30 and 5, and 5.30 and 6, so I'll need to set up two periods of eligibility.
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. Tick all guardians if they are attending the meeting together.
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 Bulk action button.
To cancel meetings that have already been booked, click into the specific meeting. In the slide over, then click Unschedule. Alternatively, you can change the time slot, or move the meeting to a custom time slot.
Changing the room for 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.
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.
Deleting Guardian consultation meetings
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.
Consultations can't be deleted/cancelled until all meetings within the consultation have been cancelled.
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 Bulk action button. 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, as there is no way to do this in bulk.
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 then be able to click the red Cancel Guardian Consultation button.
Communicating with guardians
Many of our schools host 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.
You can communicate with guardians by sending a mail merge email, SMS, in-app message or generate a letter right from within Guardian Consultations. Just click All Meetings in the left-hand menu.
Tick the guardians to communicate with then click the Bulk action button to select your communication type. Top Tip: Click the Time Slot column header to bring all unbooked meetings to the top.
This will open up a new mail merge page, where you can write and send the message.
For some meetings, I cannot see any drop down option for timings for the parents evening.
How to book the slots? Is there a bug here?
Hi Ranee, this isn't a bug - it sounds like a step has been missed out when setting up the parent's evening. If you aren't able to book a slot, this means the staff member hasn't been given a period of eligibility - you can see how to do this in step 3 of the guidance above.
I am Dayna Martin's Mom ( year 12). I would like to book to attend the virtual parent meeting
Hi Yvonne, please get in touch with your school. They will be able to help you book a meeting.
Are there any plans to link the parent evenings booking system to a virtual meeting via google meet. We were able to do this with a third party app but have cancelled to make savings now that we have Arbor.
Please take a look at our product roadmap here. You may want to look at your current options for virtual meetings here: Remote Learning Integrations
Hi Gywn, I have made a suggestion on the product roadmap for this to be developed. You suggested I look at Remote learning Integrations - I think we are connected with google but is there something diffferent we need to set up with google classroom or google meet which would help us set up a virtual meeting for each of the guardian consultations set up in Arbor
Hi Helen, you won't be able to do this automatically in Arbor. Take a look at how this can be done in the Using guardian consultations for virtual meetings section above.
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