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Title: Parents as agents of change : understanding and developing home-school partnerships in response to parent
Author: Lascelles, Anna
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis begins with a qualitative systematic review conducted as a meta-ethnography. It explores the views of parents from areas of low socio-economic status on the factors that influence their involvement in their children’s education. The findings suggest that ‘power’, ‘communication’, ‘relationships’ and ‘role construction’ are influential factors that impact on home–school partnerships. Existing research appears to have had little impact on the development of home–school partnerships responsive to the perspectives of parents. Moreover, studies selected within the meta-ethnography did not recognise parents as agents of change. The bridging document brings together the epistemology and research design, making links between the literature review and the research project. A Participatory Action Research framework was used to elicit and then communicate parent views so that they were listened to and responded to by the school. Inclusive and democratic approaches were adopted in a multi-ethnic inner-city school over a period of thirteen months to facilitate the co-learning of those involved in the project. The processes involved using tools in an interactive manner (including focus groups and interviews) and a graphic elicitation (the Ishikawa Fishbone technique) to consult with parents. School staff were invited to reflect on the parent consultation. Outcomes of the project reflected several ideas and priorities for parents. Procedural and interpersonal communications between home and school were identified by them as key themes. Time and space were created for teachers and head teachers to receive feedback and to build upon parents’ views with their own contributions. A meeting with head teachers led to reflective questions being asked that linked to next steps and actions. The thesis discusses the project outcomes in relation to four ideas: ‘concrete versus abstract ideas: procedure and artistry in learning’, ‘professionalism and authority’, ‘teacher efficacy in in response to the parent link worker’ and ‘communication space for professionals’. I conclude that parents’ participation and agency proved difficult to develop and scaffold within this context. However with the time, space and structure afforded by a Participatory Action Research frame, members of staff were able critically to consider and reflect upon the complexities of parents’ involvement and that school staff were able to consider the implications for an organisation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.App.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available