"Do you tweet?"

Rejoice fellow Tweeters and advocates of social media; this question is now officially grammatically correct. As of June 2013, the verb 'to tweet' now appears in the Oxford English Dictionary.

We decided a few months ago to embrace Twitter as a means of communicating with our parents. We had received some negative comments about the school website and so decided to take it down pending a redesign. As this left us with no effective online presence, we decided to set up a Twitter account.

We've been using Twitter for several months now as part of a project on Parental Engagement. It started off fairly innocuously with the tweeting of examples of children's work and messages to parents (i.e. there's a letter coming home today, check your child's book bag to see if they've hidden/lost/eaten it!). But as these things do, it's grown.

Despite the fact that our website is now back 'up and running', we now use Twitter in a variety of ways, not just to communicate with parents but also to signpost them towards certain services and engage with wider opportunities that children may not necessarily have access to. I was asked recently what impact the use of Twitter has had on children's attainment - I wish I could tell you!

What I can tell you is this: parents are talking to their children about what is happening in school because they know about it before they pick their children up; parents are more reassured about their children going on the school residential because they can see photos of their children having a good time. That is an impact that cannot be quantified, yet is just as important.

Unfortunately the public perception of schools using social media is not generally a positive one. I have yet to see a story on the front page of a newspaper about how a school is effectively using social media to great effect!

I'm not going to say that all schools should be using social media - but what I would say is to consider it and not be put off by the negative connotations and possible risks. Follow us @Phoenix_Ashford and we’ll follow you as well. We can all learn from each other on how to best use Twitter. 

So…”Do you tweet?”

James Tibbles is Deputy Headteacher at Phoenix Primary School

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