The home-school interface for behaviour difficulties : the views and constructs of parents/carers
Working in partnership with parents and carers is a recurring theme within education, especially for children with special educational needs. The evidence suggests that although there is some progress towards shared endeavours the reality does not match the rhetoric. There are particular difficulties at the home school interface where behaviour is the issue. This research set out to explore the perceptions of parents about their interactions with schools concerning their child's behaviour and what they found more and less supportive. The study investigated personal and social constructs influencing these perceptions and also looked at related outcomes for both parent and child. The findings have led to the development of an original theoretical model which suggests that definitions and attributions for behaviour interact with school ethos and messages about power and partnership. These in turn determine how the school communicates with parents, whether teachers both relate to parents' perception of their parenting role and take account of the whole child `in loco parentis', and the level of awareness related to parental contexts, including cultural background. When all of these `connections' work well, schools are able to develop the positive interactions that have the best chance of generating real change. This research confirms that appropriate early assessment and intervention for behavioural difficulty is crucial both for parents and for children.