Free for All Scheduling
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There can be a lot of administrative effort involved in organising a parent teacher conference without appropriate tools designed to assist the process, and some schools adopt for a ‘free for all’ schedule. This is where the school organises all the teachers to attend the event but has no official schedule.

 

Parents are told the event times, and simply attend the school during the event and try to see the teachers they need to see based on who is free at the time.

 

Schools often clearly mark the teachers desks in a hall, and have ‘waiting’ chairs so parents can line up behind teachers they want to see. There are no fixed interview times, but rather teachers discourage parents from taking too much time if there are people waiting.

 

Advantages

  • Simple to organise.
    • No schedule to worry about or forms to fill out
  • Dynamic interview times.
    • Parents with concerns can talk more, but less concerned parents may be processed at a faster rate than if limited by set times.
  • Demand driven.
    • Parents see who is free at the time and can prioritise their selection accordingly


Disadvantages

  • Appears disorganised.
    • Events can seem less organised, and does not give parents the security of knowing they will get to see the teachers they want in an appropriate time range.
    • Parents may be stressed trying to decide which ‘queue’ to join, as the longest is inevitably for the teachers they want to see.
  • Poor preparation.
    • Teachers don’t know who they will see next, so can’t prepare. Parents expect staff to ‘know’ their child / have information ready.
  • Never ending.
    • Without an official schedule, parents often stay later than the official event time as timings are less structured. How do you turn parents away when they are still lineing up?
  • Appears unfair.
    • Those with a relative accompanying them may put a ‘minder’ in some queues, which doesn’t seem as fair to parents who have nobody to assist them jumping queues.
  • Inefficient for parents.
    •  
      Less efficient system means more crowding and noise, as the style promotes parents waiting and lining up, as opposed to attending for appointed times and then quickly departing.
  • Poor reporting.
    • Schools never know which parents often miss interview nights.