I recently wrote on the subject of schools where parking is a problem. My note brought in a very high number of responses, mostly from schools that suffer from the same problem as that outlined in my note – namely, schools where parents park in uncooperative and sometimes utterly unsafe ways.
Several correspondents made two points: that the police and local council wardens were unhelpful in solving the problem (putting in very occasional visits) and that parents could be extremely aggressive over the issue (as noted in my original email).
So what is to be done?
My own view, for what it is worth, is that the solution here is very similar to the solution that is to be found to a variety of issues. Ask the parents their views via a questionnaire in which the names of the respondents are not linked to the views expressed.
In other words, you simply ask (in regards to this issue),
Do you feel there is an issue in relation to parking of cars in order to drop off or pick up children?
What do you feel should be done about it?
… and in each case put a range of answers.
You can create questionnaires to send out as emails by using on-line software such as Survey Monkey https://www.surveymonkey.com/ If you have never seen such a survey try it out (you can do this for free).
What you do with the results depends on what they are, but if you do get (for example) a vast majority of parents saying that yes there is a problem and they are horrified at the way other parents park, you might want to circulate these results to parents – with their suggestions as to what is to be done.
With questionnaires like this it is always worth thinking about where you are trying to go in terms of the information you want, and how you are going to use the information.
For example, if I were to do a survey of schools in the UK asking if the school has a PR person or department, (followed by questions about how many press releases are put out, if pupils or students are involved, who the press releases are sent to, etc) I might do this in order to get information that I could use when writing to non-subscribers to this newsletter, suggesting that having a PR person in the school is now quite commonplace, and that such a person can do the school a lot of good.
If you do ever use a survey of the type outlined above, please do let me know (even if you don’t want me to write about it. I always abide by the wishes of my readers!)
Director, School of Educational Management and Administration